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New Ideal - Reason | Individualism | Capitalism

The Real Problem with Plagiarism

Academia isn’t really convinced that plagiarism is a moral issue, and it shows.

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Editors’ note: We are republishing a few passages from Ben Bayer’s recent article published in Quillette. You can read the whole article here.

Harvard president Claudine Gay stepped down from her post in January over allegations of serial plagiarism. Gay’s critics allege that she had been a “diversity hire”—that is to say, Harvard had not hired Gay for her distinguished academic resume, but because she would be the first black president of Harvard. Since then, a number of other high-profile Harvard academics have been accused of plagiarism as well. One of the accused is even a psychologist who researches dishonesty.

This scandal has reinforced the perception that academia is increasingly willing to compromise its academic standards in the name of a rival set of values. But whatever Harvard’s reasons for hiring Gay, and whatever the actual effects of diversity ideology on academic standards, universities do seem to have lost interest in working to protect academic integrity in relation to other priorities.

Harvard College, for example, has an Office of Academic Integrity with a staff of eight, and an honour council of student volunteers dedicated to reviewing student plagiarism charges. (Most other divisions of the university, and most other universities, have no such office.) But Harvard has 12 diversity offices, one for each campus unit, with a total of over 70 permanent staff (not including faculty committees and various student fellows). It has at least four offices related to gender equity, with another 67 staff. This of course doesn’t include the numerous academic departments devoted to the study of race- and gender-themed topics, which further illustrate Harvard’s vastly more intense commitment to the value of diversity.  

Read the rest of the article here.

Image credit: Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images.


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Ben Bayer

Ben Bayer, PhD in philosophy, is a fellow and director of content at the Ayn Rand Institute and the author of Why the Right to Abortion Is Sacrosanct (2022). Ben is a managing editor of New Ideal and a member of the Ayn Rand University faculty.

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