Neri Oxman, an academic and wife of billionaire investor Bill Ackman, plagiarized parts of her doctoral dissertation at MIT, according to a report from Business Insider.
Bill Ackman's Allegations
Ackman has become one of the most prominent critics amplifying a series of accusations, including plagiarism, against Harvard’s leader, who resigned this week.
Business Insider Report
The Business Insider report, which CNN could not independently verify, said Oxman “plagiarized multiple paragraphs of her 2010 doctoral dissertation.” The report “found at least one passage directly lifted from other writers without citation.”
Oxman, an American–Israeli designer, wrote a more than 800-word response to Business Insider on social media Thursday. Oxman acknowledged that there were four paragraphs in her 330-page dissertation in which she correctly cited her sources but “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.”
MIT's Academic Integrity Handbook
Omitting quotation marks is a violation of MIT’s academic integrity handbook, “both as it is currently written and as it was at the time,” Business Insider wrote.
Oxman said that Business Insider was unwilling to give her sufficient time to check a source in one of the disputed paragraphs because the source was not online. “When I obtain access to the original sources, I will check all of the above citations and request that MIT make any necessary corrections,” she said in the statement.
Plagiarism Accusations at Harvard
The plagiarism accusations lobbed at former Harvard president Claudine Gay were similarly technical — many related to “inadequate citations,” according to Harvard. Gay says she promptly requested corrections in her writings upon learning of the errors and denies she ever claimed credit for others’ research.
Defense from David Canon
One of the scholars Gay quoted improperly, David Canon, has spoken out in her defense. “I am not at all concerned about the passages … This isn’t even close to an example of academic plagiarism,” Canon told CNN.
Ackman's Firm Stance
But Ackman took a firm line on the right-wing-led plagiarism accusations against Gay, calling them “serious” grounds to fire her.
Ackman's Defense of Oxman
In response to the Business Insider report, Ackman defended Oxman on X. “Part of what makes her human is that she makes mistakes, owns them, and apologizes when appropriate,” he wrote.
Neri Oxman's Achievements
Oxman is a prestigious figure in architecture and design circles, and she is credited with pioneering an interdisciplinary approach called “material ecology.”
Moving from MIT to New York
She became a tenured member of MIT’s faculty in 2017, though she left the school in 2020 after she married Ackman and moved to New York City, according to her X post on Thursday.
— CNN’s Matt Egan contributed reporting.
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