Harvard president resigns over ‘plagiarism,’ dealing with antisemitism

Henry

The president of world-renowned Harvard University in the US has resigned amid accusations of plagiarism and claims of anti-Semitism.

Dr. Claudine Gay resigned on Tuesday.

She was recently accused of not citing proper sources in her work, as well as of antisemitism flourishing on Harvard’s campus under her leadership.

A storm of controversy erupted around Gay’s head when she refused to say unequivocally before the US Congress whether calling for genocide of Jews was a violation of Harvard’s code of conduct.

She appeared before Congress at the beginning of December with her counterparts from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Their appearance followed growing concern that these universities are not acting politically correct since Hamas killed around 1,200 Israelis on October 7 in an orchestrated attack on Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister and US ally, has already argued that a “swallowing wave of anti-Semitism has seeped into university campuses”.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem has also described what it claims is happening on campuses as a cancer.

Bill Ackman, a former Harvard student and major donor, argued that Gay’s failures caused other donations to the university to dry up.

Dr. Claudine Gay2

Gay, Harvard’s first black president, said in her resignation letter that she had been subjected to racial prejudice and had been threatened.

She initially had the support of the university’s governing board after testifying before Congress, but the board also criticized the university’s initial response to the October 7 attacks.

UPenn’s president resigned shortly after this and pressure mounted on Harvard and MIT to also put their presidents in the way.

At least 70 members of Congress, including two Democrats, have demanded Gay’s resignation. A number of high-profile Harvard alumni and donors have asked the same. In contrast, more than 700 Harvard faculty members signed a letter in which they expressed their support for Gay.

It initially looked like Gay would stay on, even though she was already in the thick of it over allegations that she had included work in various academic writings over the years without giving credit for it.

Her resignation was first reported by the university’s newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, made known. After this, Gay herself also confirmed that she had resigned.

“It is with a heavy heart, but a deep love for Harvard, that I write to confirm that I will be stepping down as president,” Gay said in a statement.

She further writes that she has been threatened and that she has faced racial prejudice due to allegations of growing anti-Semitism on campus.

In response, Harvard’s governing body said Gay had “displayed remarkable resilience in the face of serious and personal attacks on her”.

“While some (of the threats) played out in public, there was much that was repulsive in nature, and in some cases (evidence of) racial bias, directed at her via vile emails and phone calls. We condemn those attacks,” says the governing body.