The Curious Case of Claudine Gay
She is the common thread in the Epstein, Weinstein, Dominguez, Enos, and Fryer scandals
Claudine Gay first came to my attention about a month ago, when she emerged as the central figure in the Ryan Enos data fabrication scandal, as documented in these 3 articles:
1. EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Report Shows Harvard Professor Fabricated Data
2. Why Is Jesse Singal Whitewashing Harvard's Corruption?
3. Pressure Mounts on Harvard Professor to Come Clean Over Fraudulent Data
Gay’s Role in the Ryan Enos Scandal
I will briefly summarize Gay’s ~*~alleged~*~ involvement in the Enos scandal.
In 2018, a whistleblower approached Harvard with a report that showed Ryan Enos, a professor in the department of government, falsified the dataset used in his AJPS article and CUP book. Rather than investigate this claim, Claudine Gay had the Harvard Committee on Professional Conduct write a dismissal letter with the justification that CPC is not the appropriate unit to investigate, so the report is dismissed.
This is both false and contradictory: If it *had* been true, then the CPC should have forwarded the letter to the appropriate unit to investigate and would have had no authority to dismiss the report. Plus the Chief Research Integrity Officer in the Provost's Office had initially forwarded the report to the CPC to investigate. So the dismissal letter, which could only have been issued with Gay's approval, also contradicts the statement of an official in the Harvard Provost's office.
According to the Harvard policy, there were only two possible reasons to dismiss the report without launching an inquiry, 1) Allegations do not meet the definition of misconduct, and 2) there was not enough information for investigators to be able to verify the misconduct. Neither of those two reasons applies in this case.
This scandal was Gay’s ticket to failing upward: a previously scheduled Dean search was cancelled*** to ensure this Enos blunder stayed swept under the rug, Gay was abruptly fast-tracked from Dean of Social Sciences to Dean of Faculty.
***I asked Harvard spokesperson directly about this Dean search and they maintain it never existed. Other insiders have told me it did exist:
What happened at Harvard? Why didn't they have the normal search for new FAS Dean? Something is very fishy here. Did she do something wrong and they're trying to help her get away with it?”
Update: after I posted this article, an anonymous commenter confirmed that the Dean search did exist by leaking the specific email. Meaning, if this person is correct, Harvard officials lied to my face about the Dean search never existing.
The reason Gay is so aggressively covering for Enos is that he works in the same niche subfield of “racial threat theory” like her; they cite each other in their papers extensively. Despite this conflict of interest, Gay did not recuse herself from investigating Enos. Rather, she used the opportunity to aggressively cover up his research misconduct. She knows that if his papers are proven to be fake, then her papers will also be proven to be fake — even more fake than they have already proven to be (more on this later). If he goes down, she goes down.
This mutually assured destruction is doubly true because Harvard policy also states that covering up research misconduct is itself research misconduct. Meaning according to Harvard’s own rules, Gay has already committed research misconduct by sweeping Enos’ research misconduct under the rug. So Claudine Gay now has no choice but to keep doubling down… and doubling down… and doubling down… and doubling down… and doubling down… letting the snowball of lies build.
"Failure to report observed research misconduct: covering up or otherwise failing to report observed, suspected, or apparent research misconduct by others;"
— Harvard’s Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct
This mutually assured destruction is triply true because the only time Enos has ever addressed this scandal, he threw Gay under the bus. What he's implicitly saying in this Twitter thread is that she never brought the allegations to his attention (which she was obligated to do, anonymous or not).:
If I am Harvard President Lawrence Bacow or Provost Alan Garber reading this inept Twitter thread, I am furious at the PR damage Enos is doing to Harvard.
By not addressing any of the issues in the report Enos is making Claudine Gay look really bad. If she had a valid reason to "readily dismiss" the report it should have been something so trivial and obvious he could have addressed that in one tweet. Instead he posts 16 tweets, none of which even attempt to offer plausible deniability of falsification and fabrication.
The onus was on Enos to show honest error, which he never attempted. Instead, he rests his whole case on “I shouldn’t have to answer anonymous allegations!!" This is an especially weak defence because just 11 days prior, he had (poorly) answered other anonymous allegations. The silence on the former tweet but not the latter is hypocritical and deeply revealing.
PNAS is currently investigating this second tweet.
Gay’s Role in the Jeffrey Epstein Scandal
The previous Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who Gay replaced in 2018, Michael Smith, had drawn too much heat for the numerous scandals he himself was embroiled in… such as the fact that he had approved Jeffrey Epstein's phone & office (the Program on Evolutionary Dynamics is part of FAS). Claudine Gay allowed Michael Smith to get away scot-free in the Harvard-Epstein ties investigation — she came in and nicely whitewashed it all away. Claudine Gay has Epstein coverup stink on her, and Michael Smith has major Epstein stink on him.
Gay’s Role in the Dominguez Scandals
According to the Crimson, Jorge Domínguez was a professor in the Harvard government department (the same department as Enos and Gay) who sexually harassed students and colleagues over three decades, all while being promoted to several high-profile University positions. What a lovely department culture they have cultivated!
Michael Smith was the one who spent ten years protecting Dominguez despite 18 complaints against him and did nothing about it until the Crimson article, at which point he placed Domínguez on administrative leave and decided to throw him under the bus as the scandal became too costly to Harvard's reputation.
Michael Smith knew that in appointing Claudine Gay as his replacement, she would cover up for him, as she is partly responsible for having done nothing to address Dominguez’s abuses — as she herself was Director of Graduate Studies and Dean of Social Sciences at the time of those 18 complaints. The odds are high (almost 100% ) that she was aware of these allegations, and she did and said nothing.
Silence is violence.
Gay’s Role in the Roland Fryer Scandal
The newest development in the Roland Fryer saga occurred in March 2022 when a shocking new documentary showed that Claudine Gay was the one who personally led the witchhunt against Fryer.
This documentary revealed that Harvard's own Title IX office dictated a punishment of “workplace sensitivity training” for Fryer, but Gay overruled them and instead set out to destroy Fryer's career and asked the president of the school to revoke Roland’s tenure.
“Roland’s work represents a mortal threat to some of the most powerful black people at Harvard. Consider Claudine Gay, the daughter of an engineer who went from Exter, to Stanford, to Harvard, She’s a silky-smooth corporate operator… [her] career and reputation were directly threatened by Roland’s work. [She] got to determine Roland’s punishment. Claudine Gay asked the president of the school to revoke Roland’s tenure. The president declined.”
— Rob Montz, Producer of “Harvard Cancelled its Best Black Professor. Why?”
Gay applied differential treatment to Fryer compared to Enos. Fryer was immediately investigated and aggressively sanctioned, while Enos is still not being investigated four years after credible allegations of falsification and fabrication were made known to Harvard officials, with plenty of evidence, including code to verify them.
While Claudine felt the need to protect Enos based on his research agenda, she felt threatened by Roland Fryer's heterodox research agenda because he published papers with uncomfortable data that do not fit the politically correct narrative — such as the fact that there are no racial differences in officer-involved shootings. So Claudine Gay lynched him.
Gay’s Role in the Harvey Weinstein Scandal
In February 2019, this hit piece was published in the Crimson which decried the fact that Ronald Sullivan, a law professor at Harvard Law School, had taken on the infamous Harvey Weinstein as a client.
I found it highly inappropriate/unethical that Gay went out of her way to drag Sullivan through the dirt here. Obviously, even the scummiest of scumbags deserve proper legal representation, no? Plus, as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Law School is not her fiefdom. She went out of her way to cause a big stink over it anyways. She even commissioned a survey of students to gauge how they feel about Sullivan — something that had never been done before.
The college dean, Gay … commissioned this survey. They've never done this before. Survey from the students. And the funny thing about the survey is they never released the results. Why did they never released the results? They never released the results because I would bet my salary that the results came back positive for me and it didn't fit their narrative because most of the students were fine. So they never released it. And, you know, I challenge them to this day. Release it.
Why? The answer is easy. Claudine was driven by pure spite. She is a petty and vicious little woman who held a grudge against Sullivan. You see, Sullivan had previously called Gay’s investigation into Fryer “deeply flawed and deeply unfair,” said that investigators “weighted the credibility of white witnesses far above minority witnesses”, that there was “no semblance of due process or the presumption of innocence,” and that “It shows what the current [#MeToo] movement, some blood in the water, and good coaching [of witnesses] can produce.”
And some students who didn't clearly didn't like Harvey Weinstein began to protest about the representation. And from there, it just mushroomed into one of the most craven, cowardly acts by any university in modern history. It's just a complete and utter repudiation of academic freedom. And it is a decision that Harvard certainly will live to regret it. Frankly, it's an embarrassment. We expect students to do what students do. And and I encourage students to have their voices heard and to protest. I mean, that's what students do. What is vexing are the adults, the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Claudine Gay, absolutely craven and cowardly.
— Ronald Sullivan
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Gay’s Scholarly Merit (or lack thereof)
Let’s travel back in time to the year 2005, when I was in grade 7, there were only 2 genders, and Claudine Gay was up for tenure at the Stanford department of political science. Her CV indicates that she had 4 peer-reviewed political science articles: 2001 APSR, 2002 AJPS, 2004 APSR, 2006 AJPS (assuming the 2006 one was forthcoming when they granted her tenure) and no book. When Claudine was approved tenure with this weak profile, it was so shocking that one Stanford faculty member reportedly said after the vote: “how can we ever turn someone down in the future after that vote?”
Here are what her other colleagues have to say:
I’m about Gay’s age. Her case was totally demotivating when I was younger. She is nice and she is smart, but my gosh this entire case is an embarassement. My record crushes her record in every way: citations, volume, and quality. But my pain is not considered as worthy of consideration as her pain. Now, she is deciding who gets to be a Harvard faculty member. Fun times in the twilight of American Empire.
Mind-boggling. Does there exist a most egregious affirmative action case in political science? Extremely low productivity, combined with lack of methodological soundness, and replicability issues which may be due to incompetence, dishonesty, or both. Virtually her entire measly body of work is flawed. I couldn't find any other AA hire with such a dismal record at any top-50 place (and among non-AA hires no one would have survived with such a record). Most people in her situation would hide in a hole instead of seeking such high-visibility administrative appointments.
She received all promotions and accolades because she was held to the much lower bar that REP scholars are being held to. That's discrimination on the basis of race, and it's plainly illegal. It's also the reason why Harvard is facing a lawsuit in a case that will likely go to the Supreme Court. Even in REP, it's hard to find an example of such a thin record of fatally flawed work that doesn't replicate, full of incompetent mistakes on basic methods, and such an abruptly declining trajectory post-tenure.
CG is everything that is wrong with affirmative action. Haitian immigrant privileged for the wrong reasons, to the detriment of truly disadvantaged African Americans, yet still failing miserably in her academic career despite being gifted advantages that even few whites have. She is the bad example that the very few of my colleagues who openly oppose affirmative action tend to bring up: "we don't want to hire the next CG." As someone who grew up in a liberal household, I would still like to believe in the value of diversity. People like CG make it very hard though. Unfortunately she has undermined the credibility of minority candidates, and is a bad role model to them, since her case leads them to believe that you can climb the ladder by playing the race card no matter how flawed, and fraudulent your work is, and no matter how low your productivity is.
It *would* be a great record if those publications weren't utterly flawed and dishonest. Even so, it would still be an inadequate record for tenure. Five articles and no book are simply insufficient for tenure at top-10. And if they're also flawed after years of Harvard and Stanford opportunities, then the person has no business being an academic. People have been denied tenure at lower ranked universities with much better records than CG. And she would have likely been denied at Stanford had King, her former advisor and author of the infamous EI disaster, not made her an external offer at Harvard, which she could shamelessly leverage at Stanford. I have seen many questionable affirmative action cases over the years, but the CG case takes the cake for the most ridiculous and corrupt one
Virtually all of her meager body of work is flawed. As other people have pointed out, the errors are so readily apparent that a political theorist who has completed the quantitative requirement should be able to spot them. An obvious example is the incorrect specification, computation, and interpretation of interaction effects (this affects both the 2004 APSR and the 2007 JOP). So methodologists haven't bothered to write conference papers on that. Also, writing another critique of Gay's work after the devastating EI takedown would have felt like stomping on a corpse.
— Anonymous Political Scientist
Well, it's good to see Exeter kids can still get ahead at Harvard. It's rough for them these days.
The NERVE it must take not to produce anything for a decade, after getting pity tenure on logically unsound work, and claim you got various deanship appointments as part of a meritocratic system, completely unrelated to affirmative action.
Has there been a more egregious tenure case? No book, a handful of logically inconsistent articles that don't replicate?
By the way, she still has no book. A chapter in an edited volume doesn't count. Show me another AA hire tenured at CHYMPS with 6 flawed articles and no book. There were people denied at Harvard with far superior records.
Not only did she have so few papers, none of them can be replicated.
Where are her replication datasets and code? They don’t exist!
When people ask her for her code/data, it results in footnotes like this:
We were, however, unable to scrutinize Gay’s results because she would not release her dataset to us (personal communication with Claudine Gay, 2002).
Consider Gay’s (2001) EI–R analysis of the precinct-level socioeconomic covariates that affect black and white turnout. […] For Gay’s Michigan and Pennsylvania EI–R analyses to be logically consistent, it must be true that knowledge of a precinct’s percent black (Xi) tells us nothing about the precinct’s per capita income (an element of Gay’s Zi). This is untenable in light of contemporary American social realities: if a precinct has a large African-American population, then all things equal this precinct will have a relatively low per capita income. Nonetheless, without assuming that a precinct’s per capita income is not a function of its racial composition, and without making a host of similarly implausible assumptions for the other right hand side variables in her second stage regressions, Gay’s use of EI–R is logically inconsistent.
— the footnotes of a 2002 conference paper titled 'Logical Inconsistency in King-based Ecological Regressions.'
Let’s explore this footnote, shall we, because it is a scandal unto itself when put into proper context. Not only does this footnote totally debunk the faulty methodology of her 2001 APSR paper, which is now automatically trash, but it also provides further evidence of a coverup. You see, when this article Logical Inconsistency in King-based Ecological Regressions was published in the AJPS, the footnote was gone. Vanished.
Instead of calling out Gay’s faulty paper, it now described "a hypothetical study.” The fact that CG's name was not explicitly mentioned and the study was called "hypothetical" in no way exonerates the fact that her research is fundamentally flawed. Gay’s footnote was removed because the Harvard mafia pressured the AJPS editors to remove it… or so the gossip goes.
This gets to a common theme in this story: AJPS seems to be the corrupt little lapdog of Harvard, as wherever the Harvard department of government is engaging in corruption, AJPS is surely there beside them. Gay served from 2015-2019 in the leadership team of MPSA, the organization which owns AJPS. In 2002 AJPS protected Claudine from a footnote that would’ve torpedoed her work, now, in 2022, AJPS are covering up for Enos and refusing to investigate his obvious research misconduct. If Kathleen Dolan and Jenniffer Lawless, the lead editors of the AJPS, don't start investigating soon, their tenure as editors will come to an abrupt end. Already, one of their board members leaked an internal email of their on poliscirumors. When you have members of your own editorial board leaking internal emails to a gossip site that the New Yorker referred to just yesterday as a cesspool of misogyny maybe it might be time to start questioning the leadership of that editorial board. Maybe there is a mutiny brewing.
So, right off the bat, Gay’s first major publication in her tenure case is non-replicable, and even if it could be replicated, it would be fatally flawed from a methodological standpoint. Predictably, the rest of her pre-tenure body of work is equally fatally flawed. As discussed in this 2006 article, Gay is making fatal mistakes in all her other articles in how she builds and interprets her interaction effects. Her only added value in the first place in these articles was taking other people’s work and then adding interaction effects into them, but, even then, her interaction effects are done incorrectly. Claudine doesn't understand how to correctly test and interpret interaction effects. Her usage of multiplicative coefficient as a test statistic to test an interaction effect is an incompetent choice. If the OLS coefficient can't be used as a test statistic, as she uses it, then three more of her articles are fatally flawed.
Thus, every single piece in her meagre and non-replicable tenure packet is utterly flawed. I wish I could FOIA her tenure packet to see what it says, but sadly Stanford is a private school, unlike Michigan State where Lisa Cook grifted her way to tenure. Gay’s fraudulent tenure case is arguably even more egregious than Cook’s fraudulent tenure case.
Fast forward 20 years and Gay has ~2,000 citations — less than 100 citations per year. This is because upon achieving tenure, she immediately went full deadwood (she lacked breadth in both theoretically and methodologically skills to keep up with people who actually have talent). She produced incompetent and logically inconsistent work a couple of decades ago, refused to share her data, went deadwood for 15 years, and then is rewarded with the most powerful Deanship at Harvard. Sometimes she will post an article here or there, such as one of her recent publications is in the "Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Politics" (with 2 co-authors) where she is a member of the Editorial Board (lol).
A prerequisite for being a Dean at Harvard is having a track record of research excellence, and Claudine Gay does not have this. Again: this points to the fact that she was only promoted to FAS Dean for nefarious/conspiratorial reasons. Not merit. I feel sorry for her, I can only imagine how devastating and stressful it must be to realize that everything you have ever published is flawed.
What Should Bacow and Garber Do?
Enos and Gay should have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of a new investigation long ago. Bacow and Garber can't stay quiet on the Enos and Gay misconduct much longer without looking complicit themselves.
Fox News has submitted a complaint to AJPS. Jesse Singal said he emailed Enos as well.
It would have been mathematically impossible for the maximum number of non-voters in a subsample, however peculiar, to exceed the official number of non-voters for the entire sample.
This seems like a big deal.
— Andrew Gelman
The fact is, Bacow and Garber know that the Enos report was dismissed with a legally illiterate response, they know of Gay's conflicts of interests she had about covering up for Enos, they know that Enos has not been able to contend with one single claim of the report, and they have seen him throw Gay under the bus with that Twitter thread. They also know that everyone else knows that they know. At this point is there any doubt in anyone's mind that Enos committed fraud? Is there any doubt that Claudine is incompetent and deeply corrupt?
Bacow and Garber have to choose between throwing Claudine Gay under the bus or going down in flames with her in a huge public scandal. Just as with Dominguez, the Enos case needs to be reopened at Harvard and investigated properly this time. The longer Harvard takes to fire them, the higher the reputation costs.
I am actually pretty optimistic that the right thing will eventually be done here. Why? Because this scandal is barely a month old. Harvard doesn’t do anything in a couple of weeks, or a couple of months. The game is still very much afoot. Harvard is notoriously slow to act in misconduct cases. In the Hauser case, it took them several years to do the right thing. In the end, Hauser resigned citing “exciting opportunities in the private sector.” As in the Hauser case, Harvard will probably first pressure Enos to resign, and if he refuses they will terminate him for cause and revoke tenure. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gay gracefully step down sometime this summer. If I had to guess, I would say that she will probably scamper off to be President at some LAC somewhere.
That is how Harvard rolls. There will be consequences, but those consequences will involve a golden parachute much like the parachute that was given to former Harvard Law School Dean of Students Marcia Sells, who as described in my HARVARD LIE SCHOOL article, withdrew from her role as Dean of Students abruptly and instead got a cushy job being “Head of Diversity” at the Metropolitan Opera.
Sneak Peak of my Next Investigation
The Replications Will Continue Until Morale in the Harvard Department of Government Improves
Dustin Tingley is a tenured professor in the same department as Enos and Gay. I found one of his papers that doesn’t replicate. I have contacted him, but he ignored me, so I am going full steam ahead with a formal replication.
Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It involves Figure 1 of Tingley’s The Dark Side of the Future: An Experimental Test of Commitment Problems in Bargaining, published in International Studies Quarterly in 2011.
Buried in that footnote of Figure 1 is the phrase: Standard errors clustered at the individual level and confidence intervals calculated using a parametric bootstrap running for 1000 iterations. The problem is that when you actually download his R code, there is no bootstrapping.
He obviously lied about doing bootstrapping.
This is not a “coding error.” Rather, he grossly misrepresented the research processes by claiming his reported SEs are bootstrap estimates clustered at the individual level. As per the Zelig documentation, no such bootstrapping functionality ever existed in his chosen probit regression package. For him to have bootstrapped, he would have needed to write the clustered bootstrap code himself, matching data within clusters, and there is no indication any such custom bootstrap code was ever written. So the resulting robustness claims he makes in the paper are entirely false.
A researcher could not inadvertently believe they wrote some code to implement a procedure to check the robustness of their results, when in fact they hadn’t actually written such code. There’s no plausible scenario under which the claims made in the empirical analyses are honest errors. This is cut-and-dried research fraud by definition.
So, since his flawed paper was called “The Dark Side of the Future,” I am naming my yet-to-be-written manuscript a badass paper title, “The Dark Side of The Dark Side of the Future.” I am in the middle of writing the LaTeX manuscript and custom bootstrapping R code (which Tingley never got around to writing). I also got a tip that maybe his comparative statics are wrong:
Tingley totally and utterly misunderstands the Fearon (1995) model.... The Fearon (1995) model presupposes two players (states) A and B whose preferences can be represented on the [0,1] interval on the real line; state A’s most preferred location is 1, whereas state B’s most preferred location is 0 (Fearon 1995, p. 386). That is, this is a model entailing player preferences in one-dimensional Euclidean space. In contrast, Tingley’s (2011) model is a different type of game, a so-called “divide-the-dollar” game, where both players A and B maximize utility at 1, that is, 100% of the resource to be divided (Tingley 2011, pp. 6-7).
Instead of deriving his comparative statics from first principles, Tingley starts from a constraint already derived in Fearon (1995), stated as Equation (1) on p. 8. The problem, of course, is that in Fearon (1995) the constraint is derived based on the assumption that A and B maximize utility at 1 resp. 0, whereas in Tingley (2011) both players maximize utility at 1. This implies that all subsequent derivations and comparative statics in Tingley (2011) are incorrect given his model assumptions. Further, this implies that Tingley’s hypotheses are based on incorrect equilibrium results and comparative statics. As such, Tingley’s model is completely disconnected from the experiment he conducts, and fails to test the theoretical claims and make the substantive contribution the author purports to make.
I tried to verify this anonymous tip, and I actually derived his comparative statics from scratch myself, and I am ashamed to say I was unable to verify this anonymous tip. Maybe I am a potato at math. So I emailed this anonymous critique to James Fearon, the author of the original 1995 paper on which Tingley’s 2011 model is based, and he also disagreed with the tipster. “No, I think the set-up is the same, just described slightly differently. Payoffs in a period are (x, 1 – x) for agreement on x,” Fearon told me.
I am still actively trying to prove these comparative statics wrong as per the anonymous tip… but have yet to “succeed” in any real sense. If you are an economist who is strong at doing proofs, and you think can prove these comparative statics wrong, prove me wrong, and prove Fearon wrong, I would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please leave a comment if you have any insight into these supposedly flawed comparative statics:
Remember, though, that it doesn’t matter if the comparative statics are done correctly or not because the coding/methodology is already fatally flawed due to the fact that Tingley lied about bootstrapping. This comparative statics flaw, if it exists, would just be a cherry on top. I wonder if his paper will eventually be retracted.
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Well, this is all normal. Starting 50 years ago, I mostly worked as an executive secretary or equivalent in mostly highly-progressive non-profits with boards made up of the rich and powerful who fancied themselves defenders of the oppressed, and it's a wonder I survived the poison gas of hypocrisy. For this class of person it's all theoretical and in real life they thrive on the casual destruction of anyone who they even slightly perceive as getting out of line.
And it was most striking to me, with my HS education (barely a year's worth of college credits earned at night while I worked), discovering that their fine degrees from elite institutions didn't really mean anything more than the network that protects itself. They weren't smarter or more discerning. They just had power and didn't want to share it.
I'd say to everyone "stick with your state schools" except they've priced those out of reach too, if you add in room and board fees.. Kids might as well swing for all-inclusive scholarships at the Ivy Leagues.
But you hearten me, Chris. Proving the value of tenacity.
If the truth of a Karlstack article is inversely proportional to the number of "anonymous" and "insider" quotes (mostly written by Chris himself) on which its accusations depend, then the truth-value of this recent piece of work is approximately 0.00001.
Keep up the great work, Champ!