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Claudine Gay

Claudine Gay at her Inauguration as Harvard President, 
Charlotte Hysen/Governor's Press Office (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A data scientist promoted by the rightwing activist Christopher Rufo, the Manhattan Institute thinktank, and other conservatives as an expert critic of the former Harvard president Claudine Gay has co-authored several papers in collaboration with a network of scholars who have been broadly criticized as eugenicists, or scientific racists.

Rufo described Jonatan Pallesen as “a Danish data scientist who has raised new questions about Claudine Gay’s use – and potential misuse – of data in her PhD thesis” in an interview published in his newsletter and on the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal website last Friday.

He did not tell readers that a paper featuring Pallesen’s own statistical work in collaboration with the eugenicist researchers has been subject to scathing expert criticism for its faulty methods, and characterized as white nationalism by another academic critic.

The revelations once again raise questions about the willingness of Rufo – a major ally of Ron DeSantis and powerful culture warrior in Republican politics – to cultivate extremists in the...