Neri Oxman, wife of Bill Ackman, accused of plagiarism days after Claudine Gay resigns


Neri Oxman, wife of Bill Ackman, accused of plagiarism days after Claudine Gay resigns

Neri Oxman has been accused of plagiarizing her MIT PhD dissertation by Business Insider. (Joi Ito/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Amid the fallout at Harvard University over Claudine Gay’s recent resignation, Neri Oxman—spouse of Bill Ackman, who accused Claudine Gay of plagiarism—has also been accused of plagiarism in her dissertation. The allegations were made public this afternoon by Business Insider.

Oxman has been a tenured professor at MIT since 2017, and completed her PhD dissertation there in 2010. According to Business Insider, several paragraphs in Oxman’s dissertation appear to be plagiarized as they use direct quotes from sources without quotation marks.

Reporters claim that in Oxman’s 2010 dissertation, she plagiarized text from 1998 by two Israeli scholars—Steve Winer and H. Daniel Wagner. Oxman’s dissertation also allegedly lifted text from two separate articles by NYU historian Peder Anker published in 1995 and 2006. She is also accused of plagiarizing text from a 1998 book by German physicist Claus Mattheck.

In the latter instance, Oxman copied one paragraph from Mattheck without any quotation or attribution, Business Insider reported. Such instances allegedly constitute plagiarism, according to the parameters outlined in MIT Handbook. In turn, Neri Oxman responded to the allegations on social media.

The allegations are ironic, given the hardline stance against plagiarism Oxman’s husband, Bill Ackman, a hedge fund manager, has taken in recent weeks against similar academic missteps concerning former Harvard University president Claudine Gay.

Following Claudine Gay’s congressional hearing on December 5, 2023 about anti-Semitism at Harvard, conservative media pundits teamed up with Ackman, a major Harvard donor, in calling for Gay to resign.

The calls were amplified when right-wing journalists like Chris Brunet, Aaron Sibarium, and Christopher Rufo dug up claims that Claudine Gay plagiarized parts of her PhD dissertation from 1997. Rufo and The Free Beacon’s Aaron Sibarium used the allegations to stir up animosity toward Harvard’s first Black president.

Update: AN updated this article after it was published to include Neri Oxman’s social media response.