Ackman softens stance on theft after wife records question

William Ackman, CEO and portfolio manager of Pershing Square Capital Management LP, speaks at the New York Times Dealbook conference at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Brian Pedder via Getty Images

  • Bill Ackman led the crusade to get Harvard's Claudine Kay to resign over allegations of plagiarism.
  • His wife Neri Oxman agreed Theft Excerpts from his dissertation follow the BI report.
  • Ackman now says it's “certain” that academics will misquote other people's work.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman softened his tone on academic dishonesty after Business Insider's report found that his wife Neri Oxman had plagiarized parts of his doctoral dissertation.

In a detailed, 5,139-word post on X Saturday evening, Ackman — who has led a crusade to get Harvard President Claudine Kay to resign over plagiarism allegations — “is almost certain to miss some quotation marks, and rightly so. At least a small percentage of the pages of their papers cite attribution to another author. show or deliver.”

“Some plagiarism is due to laziness on the part of the faculty. Laziness is not a great excuse for a faculty member, but it doesn't seem like a crime to me,” Ackman said. wrote. “It's a reflection of the faculty member's ability and motivation. In the real world, staff can be fired for being lazy, but doing this under a tenure system is challenging.”

A representative for Ackman declined to respond to BI's questions about his reports of plagiarism.

Ackman's softer stance on the plagiarism was a marked departure from statements he issued a week earlier, in which he called the plagiarism allegations against Kay “a scandal and a stain on Harvard's reputation.”

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Similar charges against Kay and Oxman

Kay was accused in mid-December of plagiarizing parts of several academic papers, including her political science dissertation. In substock and published news articles, conservative activist Christopher Ruffo and American Conservative contributing editor Christopher Brunet, as well as the Washington Free Beacon and the New York Post, reported parts of his writing that required citations but were insufficient. Quotes or quotation marks.

Harvard sanctioned Kay for “research misconduct” on December 12 before the university discovered two additional instances of “duplicate language without appropriate attribution” on December 20.

Kay acknowledged the citation errors and requested corrections to his writings. However, he said after his resignation that he stood by his work, adding that he had “never misrepresented” his research findings or “claimed credit for other people's research”.

Ackman's wife, BI, a former MIT professor, is now making similar accusations after discovering several instances of her academic writing removing sentences and entire paragraphs from Wikipedia, peer-reviewed journals, and technical papers without adequate citation.

From Oxman He confessed to the theftShe apologized and promised to review her evidence and request corrections to her work as needed.

“Gay has been accused, at least in some cases accurately, of using words from outside sources, and although in most cases the source is cited, it is not marked as a quoted text,” plagiarism expert Jonathan Bailey previously said. BI when comparing the two incidents. “Looks like what happened here with Oxman.”

Ackman's true feud with Kay

Ackman's focus on expelling Kay from Harvard did not begin with the plagiarism allegations that eventually led to his resignation.

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The billionaire first targeted the education chief following the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. Ackman began her month-long protest by writing a 3,138-word letter to Kay about anti-Semitism on campus, calling on Harvard leadership to discipline and suspend students who engage in anti-Semitic and pro-Palestinian activities on campus.

But the conflict between the pair came to a head after a Dec. 5 congressional hearing in which leaders of K and other elite universities testified about how they handle reports of anti-Semitic harassment.

In response to pointed questions from New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Kay said that calling for the “genocide of the Jews” could be a violation of the school's code of conduct, “depending on the context.”

He later apologized for the comment, saying he “got caught up in an extended, belligerent exchange about what happened at that point, policies and procedures.” Still, Ackman insisted his comments were an “ethical failure” that required him — and other university leaders who responded similarly — to “resign in disgrace.”

Elizabeth Magill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, told Congress that anti-Semitic speech “if it turns into behavior, it can be harassment.” He has since resigned. Before his resignation, no plagiarism charges were brought against him.

At the same hearing, MIT President Sally Kornbluth told Congress that she had never heard anyone on her campus call for genocide against Jews, prompting outrage from critics, including Ackman.

MIT has not commented on the allegations against Axman or on Ackman's campaign against Kornbluth. However, a representative of the university told BI, “Our leaders are focused on ensuring that the core work of MIT's people continues, work that is essential to the nation's security, prosperity and quality of life.”

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Kornbluth did not respond to BI's request for comment. With both Magill and Kay leaving their posts, Ackman has turned his attention to ousting her, so far she's in her position.

After news of Kay's resignation broke, Ackman threateningly posted on X: “Ed to Sally?”

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