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Harvard Diversity President Claudine Gay Resigns Over Plagiarism and Antisemitism Claims



Harvard Diversity President Claudine Gay Resigns

Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University, resigned Tuesday amid allegations of plagiarism and criticism for her appearance at a congressional hearing in which she was unable to state unequivocally that demands on campus for the murder of Jews would violate the school’s behaviour policy.

Alan M. Garber, the school’s current provost and head academic officer, will serve as interim president until a new CEO is named, officials announced Tuesday.

Gay is the second Ivy League president to quit in the last month after the congressional hearing – Liz Magill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, resigned on December 9.

Gay, Harvard’s first Black president, resigned in a letter to the Harvard community just months into her position, citing the push for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Following the congressional hearing, conservative activists scrutinized Gay’s academic record, uncovering multiple instances of alleged plagiarism in her 1997 doctoral dissertation.

Harvard president Claudine Gay

The Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, first supported Gay, claiming that a study of her scholarly work revealed “a few instances of inadequate citation” (a euphemism for plagiarism). However, there is no proof of research wrongdoing.

Days later, the Harvard Corporation announced that it had discovered two further instances of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution (plagiarism).” Gay would update her dissertation and request revisions, according to the board.

According to the New York Post, despite having to leave as the school’s top administrator, Claudine Gay will likely continue to earn over $900,000 per year.

Gay earned $879,079 as a Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean in 2021 and $824,068 in 2020 before being chosen president just six months ago, according to university records.

Her new position was kept a secret on Tuesday, although it is believed she will be paid at least as much as she was previously.

It was also unclear how much of Gay’s almost $1 million presidential salary she would be entitled to after only six months in office.

Harvard president Claudine Gay

Gay, Magill, and MIT President Sally Kornbluth came under criticism last month for their lawyerly responses to a line of questions from New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who asked whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” would violate the institutions’ rules of conduct.

The three presidents were summoned before the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce to answer allegations that universities were failing to protect Jewish students in the face of rising antisemitism worldwide and the fallout from Israel’s intensifying war in Gaza, which has drawn increased criticism for the rising Palestinian death toll.

Gay said it depended on the context but that “speech crosses into conduct, and that violates our policies.” The response drew immediate criticism from Republican and Democratic politicians and the White House. Saturday Night Live’s opening skit mocked the hearing.

Gay later apologized, telling The Crimson student newspaper that she became engrossed in a heated argument at the House committee meeting and failed to appropriately condemn threats of violence against Jewish students.

“What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community — threats to our Jewish students — have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,” he added.

The incident tainted Gay’s term at Harvard; she became president in July and stirred discord on the Ivy League campus.

Later, Rabbi David Wolpe resigned from Gay’s new anti-antisemitism committee, writing on X that “events on campus and the painfully inadequate testimony reinforced the idea that I cannot make the sort of difference I had hoped.”

Days after the hearing, the House committee said that it would look into the policies and disciplinary procedures at Harvard, MIT, and Penn. In response to allegations filed with the US Education Department, separate federal civil rights investigations were launched at Harvard, Penn, and numerous other universities.

By Geoff Thomas

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