Harvard Board Says President Will Stay In Office Following Uproar

The school’s governing board reaffirmed its support for Claudine Gay, who came under fire following her comments about antisemitic threats.

Claudine Gay will maintain her role as president of Harvard University, the school’s governing board announced Tuesday, following uproar over her expressed handling of antisemitic threats while speaking before Congress last week.

Harvard Corporation, in a statement, said that it is reaffirming its support for Gay, who has apologized for her testimony and “has committed to redoubling the University’s fight against antisemitism.”

“In this tumultuous and difficult time, we unanimously stand in support of President Gay,” the board said.

Dr. Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and Workforce Committee on Dec. 5 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and Workforce Committee on Dec. 5 in Washington, D.C.
Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

The board also commented on recent plagiarism allegations against Gay related to her past academic writings. The board said that three of her articles have been independently reviewed by political scientists, and while no violation was found, there were “a few instances of inadequate citation.”

Four corrections will consequently be made to two of Gay’s articles “to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications,” the board said.

Gay, who is the university’s first Black president, came under fire last week after repeatedly refusing to definitively say during her testimony whether calls for the genocide of Jews would violate Harvard’s code of conduct. Gay, responding to questioning by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) on Dec. 5, said it would depend on the context.

“When it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct, and we do take action,” she said.

Gay faced immediate public backlash, and the following day, she released a statement affirming that “those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.”

Stefanik on Tuesday doubled down on her stance that Gay should be out of a job.

The decision to keep Gay is a “moral failure of Harvard’s leadership and higher education leadership at the highest levels,” Stefanik said at a press conference. “The only update to the code of conduct is to allow a plagiarist as the president of Harvard.”

Late last week, Stefanik released a letter signed by 70 mostly Republican members of Congress that called for Gay’s ouster as well as the removal of two other university presidents who testified alongside Gay and gave similar responses.

“There must be accountability for those who threaten, harass, or incite violence toward the Jewish community and clear guidelines for college campuses,” the letter read. “If calls for genocide of the Jewish people are not in violation of your universities’ policies, then your universities are operating under a clear double standard.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s governing board released a statement in support of its president, Sally Kornbluth, who testified with Gay. Liz Magill, who testified as president of the University of Pennsylvania, apologized and resigned from her role on Saturday.

Gay also apologized in an interview with The Harvard Crimson, saying that in her testimony, she got caught up in an “extended, combative exchange about policies and procedures.”

She said, “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.”

Popular in the Community


What's Hot