Claudine Gay Should Go

Peter Wood and David Randall

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) calls on the Harvard Corporation to remove Claudine Gay from Harvard College’s presidency.

President Gay is at the center of the controversy that followed her December 5 testimony to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, in which she found herself unable to give a clear answer to questions about what Harvard could or would do in response to calls for genocide against Jews. Her answers on that occasion were far from satisfactory, but they are not the only reason why she should be removed from the presidency.

Her performance on December 5 should be—to borrow a word she used repeatedly on that occasion—put into context. The context in this case consists of:

  • Her shoddy professional work, which would by normal standards disqualify her for any academic appointment at Harvard.
  • Her record of plagiarism.
  • Her promotion of racist policies.
  • Her vindictive and arbitrary administrative punishment of Harvard college members.

Some of this was known or knowable at the time of her appointment as president, but a great deal more is known today.

The context also includes Claudine Gay’s on the-record statements about the purpose of a Harvard education. She provided a remarkable summary of her views in her memorandum on August 20, 2020, to the Faculty of Arts & Sciences when she was serving as Dean. In that memo she set out her radical vision of the “transformational project” she had in mind for Harvard—a project that would redefine every aspect of the university in an effort to advance what she called “racial justice.” This meant prioritizing race in faculty appointments; pursuing “inclusive excellence” (a euphemism for lowering academic standards); expanding the diversity bureaucracy—aka expanding “leadership opportunities for staff of color;” and selectively favoring minority candidates for promotion of staff in managerial and executive roles.

None of this was hidden, though the general public appears to have little understanding as to what it meant and how forcefully President Gay would implement it. Nor was it clear that the U.S. Supreme Court would strike down the controlling opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which had given Harvard and many other universities what they took to be license to use racial preferences in a wide variety of academic contexts. The decision in Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard demands a fundamental rethinking of such policies. Claudine Gay, who is profoundly committed to racialist policies, is plainly not the right person to lead Harvard into this new era.

In addition to these considerations, since the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, President Gay has exhibited a moral obtuseness that marries intolerance for all dissent from the diversity, equity, and inclusion regime, to insensitivity to Jews faced with anti-Jewish harassment. President Gay’s insistence that her hands were tied by the principle of free speech was belied by her long-standing willingness to crush the free speech of others who expressed views with which she disagreed.

Gay has never deserved to be a member in good standing of the American academy, much less to be president of Harvard, and Harvard can only begin to restore its badly tarnished reputation when it has removed her from the presidency.

Lest any of the points mentioned here be thought insubstantial or uncorroborated, note:

  • Christopher Rufo and Chris Benet have just obtained documentation that apparently proves that Gay plagiarized substantial portions of her doctoral thesis—not least in irony, from noted conservative political scientist Carol Swain.
  • As noted a year ago by NAS’s David Randall, Gay, although promoted within the academic track, has never published an academic book. This is not a sin as plagiarism is, but it registers her obvious unfitness to be a professor at Harvard, much less its president.
  • Chris Brunet also has shown how Gay’s administrative work at Harvard has consisted to a considerable extent of covering up real scandals or in groundlessly persecuting innocent professors, such as Roland Fryer.
  • Gay argued forcefully in 2020 for the tighter imposition of the so-called “anti-racist” agenda at Harvard University—which is actually racist—including exhortation for, and announcement of her own plans to execute, racially discriminatory hiring practices.
  • Since the October 7 mass murder of Israelis by Hamas, Gay has winked at the chronic harassment of Jews by Muslims and the far left at Harvard, and extenuated and protected it by calling it free speech.

Gay also has revealed extraordinary moral obtuseness by her inability to speak clearly to condemn the moral degenerates of Harvard who have glorified the butchery of Jews and, under the thin disguise of the slogan “From the River to the Sea,” called for the genocide of the Jewish nation of Israel.

The time has come to bring down the curtain on a presidential appointment that plainly had the support of campus activists and a fair number of faculty members—but which was from the beginning ill-founded, and is now a national embarrassment.

Photo by C-SPANPublic Domain

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