Harvard University’s President Resigned After Comments About Antisemitism

IBL News | New York

Harvard University’s President, Claudine Gay, resigned Tuesday after facing allegations of plagiarism and criticism over her comments about antisemitism on campus.

Last month, during a tense congressional hearing, Dr. Gay said calls for the killing of Jews were abhorrent. She added, however, that it would depend on the context whether such comments would constitute a violation of Harvard’s code of conduct regarding bullying and harassment.

As a result of the comments, she faced mounting pressure to step down in recent weeks. Dozens of politicians and some high-profile alumni called for her to step down over the comments.

But nearly 700 staff members rallied behind her in a letter, and the university said she would keep her job despite the controversy.

Claudine Gay, 53 years old, served as President for six months and was the first black person, and only the second woman, to be appointed to lead the Ivy League university. Her tenure was the shortest in its 388-year history.

In a letter announcing her resignation, Dr. Claudine Gay said it was in the “best interests” of the university for her to step down.

“This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words,” Dr. Gay said. She added that her resignation would allow Harvard to “focus on the institution rather than any individual”.

Harvard is one of several universities in the U.S. accused of failing to protect its Jewish students following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in October. Jewish groups have reported an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. since the conflict began.

Just hours before she resigned on Tuesday, claims that Dr. Gay had failed to properly cite academic sources emerged and were published anonymously in the conservative Washington Free Beacon newspaper.

Harvard’s board investigated the allegations of plagiarism and found two published papers that required additional citations. The board, however, said that she did not violate standards for research misconduct.

Provost Alan M. Garber ’76, Harvard’s Chief Academic Officer, will serve as interim president effective immediately, The Harvard Gazette reported.