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Harvard President resigns amid controversies

By: Adam Beam 1/2/2024

Claudine Gay at the House hearing, where she was criticized for a lack of direct answer about policies and procedures to combat bullying and harassment of Jewish students. (Photo Courtesy of CNN)

Claudine Gay, the former president of Harvard University, has resigned from her position following controversies related to antisemitism on campus.


Gay was one of three Ivy League presidents to face public outcry following a Congressional hearing in December. Former University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned four days after the hearing. MIT's Sally Kornbluth is now the only president still serving as of January 2.


Gay announced her resignation in a letter to the campus community, which read, "It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president. This is not a decision I came to easily." She continued, "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."


The controversy for Gay began during the Congressional hearing when she responded to a question from Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, asking whether the call for the genocide of Jews violated their student codes of conduct. Gay answered similarly to her peers, stating, "When speech crosses into conduct, that violates our policies.”


Gay has also faced controversy in the past few weeks when conservative activists uncovered several alleged instances of plagiarism in her previous academic works. However, Harvard's governing board only found “a few instances of inadequate citation,” according to the Associated Press.


Gay was Harvard's first black president, and her resignation marks an end to the University's shortest presidential tenure, lasting only six months.


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