The Irony: After Claudine Gay’s Ouster, Bill Ackman’s Wife Admits She ‘Plagiarized’ Her MIT Dissertation

Bill Ackman’s wife Neri pictured in 2022 in New York City. | Source: Steven Ferdman / Getty

The wife of the billionaire huge fund manager credited with leading the charge to oust Claudine Gay from Harvard University is on the defensive after a new report claims she “plagiarized” her doctoral dissertation.

The report comes days after Gay tendered her reluctant resignation as president of the prestigious Ivy League school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after facing relentless claims of antisemitism and, more recently, plagiarism, led in part by Bill Ackman.

The irony…

Business Insider published its report on Thursday afternoon that “found a similar pattern of plagiarism by Ackman’s wife Neri Oxman, who became a tenured professor at MIT in 2017.”

Business Insider added: “Oxman plagiarized multiple paragraphs of her 2010 doctoral dissertation, Business Insider found, including at least one passage directly lifted from other writers without citation.”

Oxman, a tenured professor at MIT, all but admitted she plagiarized. But in doing so, she both defended her actions and portrayed herself as a victim.

Suggesting Business Insider didn’t give her enough time to review the questionable, if not completely omitted citations, Oxman wrote a lengthy mea culpa on the social media app formerly known as Twitter defending herself from what appear to be valid accusations of plagiarism.

“I omitted quotation marks for certain work that I used,” Oxman admitted in the social media post on Thursday shortly after Business Insider’s report was published.

I was forwarded an email this morning from a reporter at Business Insider who noted that there are four paragraphs in my 330-page PhD dissertation: “Material-based Design Computation,” which I completed at @MIT in 2010,

where I omitted quotation marks…

— Neri Oxman (@NeriOxman) January 4, 2024

Oxman went on to claim that she “properly credited the original source’s author(s) with references at the end of each of the subject paragraphs, and in the detailed bibliography end pages of the dissertation.” However, she “did not place the subject language in quotation marks, which would be the proper approach for crediting the work. I regret and apologize for these errors.”

Oxman said that “because some of the original sources are not online, and Business Insider was unwilling to give me beyond 4pm to review these citations,” she could not offer full confirmation of the allegations of plagiarism.

“When I obtain access to the original sources, I will check all of the above citations and request that MIT make any necessary corrections,” Oxman added.

Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 5, 2023, in Washington, D.C. | Source: Kevin Dietsch / Getty

In a New York Times op-ed written by Gay and published on Wednesday, the first Black and now-former president of Harvard University similarly admitted that “some material duplicated other scholars’ language, without proper attribution” in her published works.

“When I learned of these errors, I promptly requested corrections from the journals in which the flagged articles were published, consistent with how I have seen similar faculty cases handled at Harvard,” Gay continued.

Sound familiar?

Oxman did not acknowledge the apparent double standard at play as she apologized for the same transgression that helped push Gay out of Harvard.

Prior to Business Insider’s report, the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network led a team in New York City picketing outside of the office of Ackman, who’s been called a “bully” for leading calls for Gay’s ouster.

“President Gay’s resignation is about more than a person or a single incident. This is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling,” Sharpton said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “It’s an assault on the health, strength, and future of diversity, equity, and inclusion – at a time when Corporate America is trying to back out of billions of dollars in commitments. Most of all, this was the result of Bill Ackman’s relentless campaign against President Gay, not because of her leadership or credentials but because he felt she was a DEI hire.”

Ackman — a Harvard alumnus who is reportedly now pushing for the resignation of MIT’s president — pounced on Gay’s congressional testimony last month when she spoke of a “deeply concerning rise in antisemitism” on Harvard’s campus following a deadly attack by Hamas against Israel in October.

“At Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment?” Republican New York Rep. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik asked.

“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded.

Those seven noncommittal words uttered by Gay initially served as the basis for opponents of her presidency, including and especially Ackman, calling for her to be fired.

When that effort failed, conservatives seeking Gay’s removal soon turned their attention to claims of plagiarism in her PhD thesis.

The Boston Globe reported that “Ackman distributed a form online where people could sign” a letter expressing a vote of no confidence in Gay that allegedly had the support of more than 1,000 Harvard students, alumni and affiliates.

Less than a month later, Gay officially resigned.

Members of the National Action Network held a protest outside the office of hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman on January 4, 2024, in New York City. | Source: Michael M. Santiago / Getty

In her letter of resignation, Gay said she was proud to have been Harvard’s president and seemed saddened by the decision.

“It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career,” Gay wrote in part. “My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis.”

Gay also talked about the stress of her character being attacked, citing “racial animus” during her tenure as President.

“Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor—two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am—and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus,” Gay added.

Following the resignation, conservatives have put diversity programs back in front of the political firing squad with right-wing mouthpieces taking to social media to call Gay a diversity hire and using the moment to bash affirmative action more than six months after the Supreme Court gutted the race-conscious admissions process.

Not surprisingly, Ackman was among them. He bashed the concept of DEI and  suggested that it was a form of racism.

“Under DEI’s ideology, any policy, program, educational system, economic system, grading system, admission policy, (and even climate change due to its disparate impact on geographies and the people that live there), etc. that leads to unequal outcomes among people of different skin colors is deemed racist,” Ackman posted. “As a result, according to DEI, capitalism is racist, Advanced Placement exams are racist, IQ tests are racist, corporations are racist, or in other words, any merit-based program, system, or organization which has or generates outcomes for different races that are at variance with the proportion these different races represent in the population at large is by definition racist under DEI’s ideology.”

He continued: “In order to be deemed anti-racist, one must personally take action to reverse any unequal outcomes in society. The DEI movement, which has permeated many universities, corporations, and state, local and federal governments, is designed to be the anti-racist engine to transform society from its currently structurally racist state to an anti-racist one.”

Bill Ackman pictured in 2022 in New York City. | Source: Sylvain Gaboury / Getty

Dr. Claudine Gay began working at Harvard in 2006 as a government professor and became an educator of African and African American Studies the following year.

The university appointed her as a Wilbur A. Cowett Professor of Government in 2015, and she served as Dean of Social Science from then until 2018.

Gay has also worked closely with Harvard’s previous president, Lawrence S. Bacow, for the past five years.

Last year, Harvard appointed Gay to be its 30th president, making her the first Black person and just the second woman to hold the position in the school’s 387 years of existence. Gay’s resignation gave her the distinction of having the briefest presidency at Harvard.  

According to the Harvard Gazette, Dr. Alan Garber, Harvard’s chief academic officer, will serve as interim president.

This is America.


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The post The Irony: After Claudine Gay’s Ouster, Bill Ackman’s Wife Admits She ‘Plagiarized’ Her MIT Dissertation appeared first on NewsOne.

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