Why has Claudine Gay resigned as president of Harvard?

3 months ago 38

After conscionable six months arsenic president of Harvard University, Claudine Gay has stepped down pursuing allegations of plagiarism and a backlash implicit what was described arsenic an inadequate effect to field anti-Semitism.

Gay was the university’s archetypal Black president and lone the 2nd pistillate to instrumentality the relation successful its 388-year history. Her tenure is the shortest successful the past of the university. In her resignation letter, she cited idiosyncratic attacks “fuelled by radical animus” and stated that she wished to enactment successful the “best interests” of the Harvard assemblage and to alteration it to navigate current tensions sparked by the Israel-Gaza war.

Here is what you request to cognize astir her resignation.

Who is Claudine Gay?

Gay, 53, was named the Wilbur A Cowett Professor of Government astatine Harvard successful 2015. She is besides a prof of African and African-American studies. She became the 30th president of Harvard University erstwhile she took the station connected July 1, 2023. She succeeded Lawrence S Bacow, 72, who had served arsenic president since 2018.

A governmental idiosyncratic by training, Gay antecedently served arsenic dean of societal subject for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences astatine Harvard. She archetypal joined Harvard successful 2006 arsenic a prof successful the Department of Government, wherever she besides completed her PhD successful 1998. Gay earned her bachelor’s grade successful Economics from Stanford University successful 1992.

Gay is the girl of Haitian immigrants to the US. She spent overmuch of her puerility successful New York and, later, Saudi Arabia, wherever her begetter worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Gay besides attended a backstage boarding school, Phillip Exeter Academy successful New Hampshire, and is the relative of writer and world Roxane Gay.

Why did she resign?

Gay’s resignation follows mounting unit for her to measurement down aft a congressional hearing astir anti-Semitism connected assemblage campuses connected December 4. Since then, she has besides faced allegations of plagiarism which surfaced successful the days aft the hearing, regarding her erstwhile world work.

In her resignation missive connected Tuesday, Gay said her determination came pursuing consultations with the Harvard Corporation – the smaller and much almighty of Harvard’s 2 governing boards.

“It has go wide that it is successful the champion interests of Harvard for maine to resign truthful that our assemblage tin navigate this infinitesimal of bonzer situation with a absorption connected the instauration alternatively than immoderate individual,” Gay wrote.

She said it had been “painful to witnesser the tensions and divisions that person riven our assemblage successful caller months rising astatine Harvard” and “distressing to person uncertainty formed connected my commitments to confronting hatred and to upholding scholarly rigour”. She besides referred to being “subjected to idiosyncratic attacks and threats fuelled by radical animus”.

What did Gay accidental astatine Congress?

At a legislature proceeding to code the contented of rising anti-Semitism connected US assemblage campuses successful aboriginal December 2023, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik accused Gay of not enforcing pupil code-of-conduct measures to halt what she described arsenic anti-Semitic code connected campus.

Stefanik claimed that successful the sanction of escaped speech, Harvard was enabling hateful connection and threats against Jewish people.

Stefanik pressed Gay connected phrases specified arsenic “Intifada” and “from the stream to the sea” being chanted astatine pro-Palestine marches connected campus. Some, including Stefanik, spot these statements arsenic inciting unit against Jewish people. However, those who usage these phrases support that Palestinian liberation should not beryllium conflated with anti-Semitism.

When challenged, Gay did not intelligibly reply yes oregon nary to whether calls connected field “for the genocide of Jews” would interruption the school’s behaviour policy. Instead, she stated that it would beryllium connected the context, whether the calls were directed towards an idiosyncratic and whether they were “severe and pervasive”.

In a connection posted to X 2 days aft the hearing, Gay clarified that commitments to escaped look bash not entail condoning calls for unit oregon genocide. However, some saw this clarification arsenic excessively small excessively late.

Statement from President Gay: There are immoderate who person confused a close to escaped look with the thought that Harvard volition condone calls for unit against Jewish students. Let maine beryllium clear: Calls for unit oregon genocide against the Jewish community, oregon immoderate spiritual oregon ethnic…

— Harvard University (@Harvard) December 6, 2023

Presidents of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) besides attended the hearing. Penn’s President besides stepped down successful the weeks aft the proceeding pursuing similar backlash from the university’s students and alumni.

However, Gay’s colleagues astatine Harvard came to her defence. On December 11, much than 700 module members astatine Harvard signed a letter urging against nationalist pressures to region Gay.

What plagiarism accusations person been made against Gay?

Following Gay’s Congress grounds successful December, a Washington Free Beacon study and a Substack station by right-wing activistic Christopher F Rufo made claims astir alleged plagiarism by Gay successful probe papers from 1993 and 2017, and successful the acknowledgements of her 1997 Harvard dissertation.

Harvard’s committee investigated these allegations successful December and concluded that she did not interruption their standards for research. Without specifying which work, the committee said that immoderate articles simply required further citations.

“President Gay is proactively requesting 4 corrections successful 2 articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the archetypal publications,” Harvard Corporation said successful an email to affiliates.

Who is the caller president of Harvard and what’s adjacent for Gay?

Gay volition instrumentality to her module presumption astatine Harvard.

The university’s provost, Alan M Garber, 69, volition pb successful the interim until a caller president is selected.

The Harvard Corporation stated that it would statesman a hunt for a caller president “in owed course” without specifying a timeline oregon detailing procedures.

The Corporation besides confirmed Gay’s resignation via email had been sent to affiliates a fewer minutes aft her announcement connected Tuesday and praised her committedness and work to the university.

“Her ain connection conveying her volition to measurement down eloquently underscores what those who person worked with her person agelong known – her committedness to the instauration and its ngo is heavy and selfless,” work the email.

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