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Harvard president Claudine Gay resigns amid antisemitism, plagiarism controversies

PoliticsHarvard president Claudine Gay resigns amid antisemitism, plagiarism controversies

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Harvard president Claudine Gay announced her resignation Tuesday afternoon. 

In a letter to members of the Harvard community, Gay said she was stepping down as president but will return to the Harvard faculty despite widespread plagiarism allegations against her. 

“This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries. 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,” Gay wrote. 

The letter continued: “It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career. My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis. Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor—two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am—and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.”

“I believe in the people of Harvard because I see in you the possibility and the promise of a better future. These last weeks have helped make clear the work we need to do to build that future—to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other’s dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth,” Gay wrote. “I believe we have within us all that we need to heal from this period of tension and division and to emerge stronger. I had hoped with all my heart to lead us on that journey, in partnership with all of you. As I now return to the faculty, and to the scholarship and teaching that are the lifeblood of what we do, I pledge to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve.” 


Claudine Gay

Harvard President Claudine Gay is reportedly to step down. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

In a statement first obtained by Fox News Digital, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., reacted to Gay’s resignation. 

Stefanik had challenged Gay, as well as the presidents of MIT and UPenn, during a line of questioning at a House Education and the Workforce hearing last month about whether calls for intifada or the genocide of Jews on campus violated their institutions’ codes of conduct or policies against bullying and harassment. All three faced harsh backlash for failing to clarify and insisted more context was needed. 

“I will always deliver results. The resignation of Harvard’s antisemitic plagiarist president is long overdue,” Stefanik said. “Claudine Gay’s morally bankrupt answers to my questions made history as the most viewed Congressional testimony in the history of the U.S. Congress. Her answers were absolutely pathetic and devoid of the moral leadership and academic integrity required of the President of Harvard. This is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history. Our robust Congressional investigation will continue to move forward to expose the rot in our most ‘prestigious’ higher education institutions and deliver accountability to the American people.”

According to the Ivy League school’s newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, Gay’s resignation will bring an end to the shortest Harvard presidency in the university’s history. 

The Boston Globe reported that, according to their sources, Harvard’s provost, Dr. Alan Garber, will become interim president. 


Gay Magill Kornbluth

During the hearing on antisemitism, university presidents, from left, Claudine Gay of Harvard, Liz Magill of Penn and Sally Kornbluth of MIT all gave “evasive” answers when asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik if calls for the genocide of Jews would violate their institution’s policies on bullying and harassment. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

After her congressional testimony, Gay issued an apology and the university’s board ultimately decided to stick by her despite widespread calls from donors and members of Congress for her ouster. The hearing came in response to rising antisemitism at American universities following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in southern Israel. 

Gay has also been at the center of a scandal in which she was accused of multiple instances of plagiarism in scholarly works. 

“When I became president, I considered myself particularly blessed by the opportunity to serve people from around the world who saw in my presidency a vision of Harvard that affirmed their sense of belonging – their sense that Harvard welcomes people of talent and promise, from every background imaginable, to learn from and grow with one another,” Gay’s letter added Tuesday. “To all of you, please know that those doors remain open, and Harvard will be stronger and better because they do.”

Harvard President Claudine Gay

Harvard President Claudine Gay attends a menorah lighting ceremony on the seventh night of Hanukkah in December. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Gay went on to say: “As we welcome a new year and a new semester, I hope we can all look forward to brighter days. Sad as I am to be sending this message, my hopes for Harvard remain undimmed. When my brief presidency is remembered, I hope it will be seen as a moment of reawakening to the importance of striving to find our common humanity – and of not allowing rancor and vituperation to undermine the vital process of education. I trust we will all find ways, in this time of intense challenge and controversy, to recommit ourselves to the excellence, the openness, and the independence that are crucial to what our university stands for – and to our capacity to serve the world.” 

Charlie Covit, a Harvard University Jewish student leader, hopes the allegations of plagiarism against Gay don’t drown out calls to address antisemitism on campus. 


“Once it became clear that the plagiarism in Gay’s work was part of a clear pattern, it was simply too damaging to the reputation of the University and its students for her to stay on,” Covit told Fox News Digital. “I hope that the plagiarism, while serious, will not overshadow what remains a serious issue on our campus: antisemitism and an obsessive hatred of Israel. The next president must address the concerns of the Jewish community on day one.”


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