New York, NY; January 2, 2024—After a short and tumultuous term as president of Harvard University, Claudine Gay has officially tendered her resignation amid her mishandling of anti-Semitism on campus and allegations of plagiarism.
The National Association of Scholars (NAS) called for Gay’s resignation on December 11, 2023. That statement cited her inability to provide clear and decisive answers on how the university would handle anti-Semitism on campus following the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, 2023, which highlighted the hypocrisy and arbitrary enforcement of Harvard’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policies. While the testimony Gay provided to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce launched her into the spotlight for her poor judgment, accusations of plagiarism set the timer on her tenure as Harvard’s president.
Prior to the House Committee hearing, NAS President Peter Wood, along with other journalists and academics, had been investigating Claudine Gay’s history as a scholar. When Gay’s record of plagiarism first came to light, the Harvard Corporation failed to remove Gay, instead issuing a statement standing by her presidency.
“It was clear that Gay had committed plagiarism in her doctoral thesis, among other works, but no action was taken to discipline Gay by the university—rather they redefined ‘plagiarism’ and excused the inexcusable,” stated Wood.
“Claudine Gay’s prior administrative work at Harvard showcased her willingness to use university policy to forward personal political objectives,” continued Wood, referring to her 2020 memo to Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, titled “Advancing Racial Justice.” “Gay’s public alignment with this progressive political agenda was prefaced by her vindictive and arbitrary administrative punishment of Harvard college members, such as Professor Roland Fryer.”
The Harvard Corporation has announced that Alan M. Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, will replace Gay as the interim president. The Corporation has also noted that the university will begin a search for a new president “in due course,” adding that this “will include board engagement and consultation with the Harvard community.” The statement does not mention the accusations of plagiarism or Gay’s failure to address anti-Semitism on campus.
“Gay’s resignation is an opportunity for Harvard,” added Wood. “It now has a chance to rid itself of the diversity, equity, and inclusion blanket that has been used so often to smother the flame of intellectual curiosity, honest debate, and the search for truth. Harvard's next president should embody those principles that promote and sustain the spirit of academic inquiry.”