Harvard President Resigns Amid Numerous Controversies

By Jerry McConway, updated on January 3, 2024

Harvard President Claudine Gay has finally decided to step down.

Gay was one of several high-profile presidents for elite learning institutions to make what were deemed to be anti-Semitic comments during a congressional hearing. She has now also been accused of plagiarism.

Talking Points…

  • Claudine Gay controversies
  • Gay resigns
  • Analysis

Claudine Gay Controversies

Gay came under fire after testifying before Congress regarding anti-Semitism on campus. She and the other presidents all had similar testimonies that hateful comments toward Jewish students did not necessarily break the code of ethics for students until it became an action.

After her comments, it was reported that Barack Obama was working the back channels for Gay to keep her job, but when she was also hit with accusations of plagiarism, the calls for her resignation grew so loud that even Obama could not protect her.

Gay was hit again with more plagiarism allegations on January 1, bringing the total claims to 50. In December, Harvard tried to protect her, saying that her papers only required "clarification" and additional citations. Among those that Gay has been accused of plagiarizing are David Canon, Gary King, and Franklin Gilliam.

Gay Finally Resigns

With donors holding back pledges and more calls for her to resign, Gay finally announced her resignation on the afternoon of January 2. She wrote:

"This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries. But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.

"It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career. My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis. Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor—two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am—and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus."

She continued:

"I believe in the people of Harvard because I see in you the possibility and the promise of a better future. These last weeks have helped make clear the work we need to do to build that future—to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other's dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth.

"I believe we have within us all that we need to heal from this period of tension and division and to emerge stronger. I had hoped with all my heart to lead us on that journey, in partnership with all of you. As I now return to the faculty, and to the scholarship and teaching that are the lifeblood of what we do, I pledge to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve."

Analysis

Let's step away from the situation for a second and insert a student, any student, into the same allegations of plagiarism that Gay faced after her congressional hearing. Had a student been caught plagiarizing like this, he or she would have likely not only received a failing grade but also more than likely would have been dismissed from the school.

We are not talking about one incident but dozens of instances, including more than a dozen of her published academic papers that were clearly plagiarized from other scholars.

When you add in the plagiarism with the anti-Semitic comments she made during her hearing, Gay should have been terminated, not supported by the school and a former president of the United States. The fact she will be returning to the faculty is outrageous. What parent would want this woman teaching their child knowing she has made those comments and stolen work from other scholars?

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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