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Harvard President Resigns

Harvard University President Claudine Gay
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Harvard president Claudine Gay announced her resignation on Tuesday, culminating weeks of mounting pressure that began after Gay’s widely criticized appearance before Congress and escalated due to high-profile reports of plagiarism in the embattled academic’s published work.

Gay served as the Harvard president for six months and two days, and her resignation ends the shortest presidency in the university’s history. 

“[I]t 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 in an email to the Harvard University community announcing her resignation, obtained by National Review.

“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,” Gay continued. 

According to the statement, Gay will return to her position on the faculty. 

“While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks,” reads an email by the Harvard Corporation. “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 strongest possible terms.”

Alan M. Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, will serve as Interim President. 

During a congressional hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) confronted Gay over the chants of “intifada” that can be heard on Harvard’s campus, Gay said that such speech does not breach the university’s code of conduct.

“At Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment?” Stefanik asked.

“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded. She later said, “Antisemitic rhetoric when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation — that is actionable conduct and we do take action.”

After her congressional testimony, Gay apologized for her comments. 

“I am sorry,” Gay said in an interview with the Harvard student-run publication, The Crimson. “Words matter.”

The Harvard Corporation released a statement on December 12 reaffirming its support for Gay’s leadership of the university. According to the statement, the Fellows of Harvard College initiated an independent review of Gay’s published work at her request and, on December 9, concluded that there were “a few instances of inadequate citation.”

“While the analysis found no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct, President Gay is proactively requesting four corrections in two articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications,” the statement continues.

National Review reported that scholars who believe their work was plagiarized by Gay were not contacted by Harvard during its investigation. 

Lee Jussim, a social psychologist and distinguished professor at Rutgers University, told National Review he’s “never seen anything like” the plagiarism scandal involving Gay.

The total of unique plagiarism allegations against Gay has risen to nearly 50, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“Ms. Gay’s damage to me is aggravated because her early work was in the area where my research is considered seminal,” Carol Swain, whose work was plagiarized by Gay without citation, wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “Her scholarship on black congressional representation, electoral districting and descriptive representation builds on terrain where I plowed the ground.”

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Source: Harvard President Claudine Gay to Resign amid Growing Plagiarism Scandal | National Review