Harvard president to resign

Published January 3, 2024

NEW YORK: The president of Harvard University has decided to resign, the prestigious US school’s student newspaper reported, after she faced criticism over allegations of plagiarism and her handling of “anti-Semitism” on campus.

Claudine Gay was criticised in recent months after reports surfaced alleging that she did not properly cite scholarly sources in her academic work. The most recent accusations came on Tuesday, published anonymously in a conservative online outlet.

Gay was also engulfed by scandal after she declined to say unequivocally whether calling for genocide of Jews violated Harvard’s code of conduct, during testimony to Congress alongside the heads of MIT and the University of Pennsylvania last month.

The university’s governing Harvard Corporation backed her after her appearance before Congress, but did criticise her response to the Oct 7 raid in Israel.

More than 70 lawmakers, including two Democrats, called for her resignation, while a number of high-profile Harvard alumni and donors had called for her departure.

Still, more than 700 Harvard faculty members had signed a letter supporting Gay.

“Harvard President Claudine Gay will resign on Tuesday afternoon, bringing an end to the shortest presidency in the University’s history, according to a person with knowledge of the decision,” the student-run Harvard Crimson reported.

The university’s governing Harvard Corporation said that Gay had “shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks.” “While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls. We condemn such attacks.” In the United States, the anti-Semitism on campus controversy came amid a rise in attacks and violent rhetoric targeting Jews and Muslims, including at universities, since the Israel-Hamas war erupted.

The president of another elite Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania, had already been forced to resign.

The House Republican who challenged Gay out during her testimony with the question about whether free speech extended to calling for genocide of Jews celebrated the latest academic’s downfall.

Gay, 53, was born in New York to Haitian immigrants and is a professor of political science who in July became the first Black president of 368-year-old Harvard University, in Cambridge, outside Boston.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2024

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