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Harvard University President Claudine Gay finally resigns amid plagiarism allegations, controversial testimony

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Harvard President Claudine Gay finally resigns amid plagiarism allegations, controversial testimony
Harvard President Claudine Gay, May 25, 2023. Source: Reuters

Cambridge, MA – President Claudine Gay has announced her resignation, ending a tumultuous six-month tenure marked by allegations of plagiarism and criticism for her testimony about antisemitism on campus.

Gay faced pressure from Harvard's Jewish community and some members of Congress after her December 5 congressional hearing where she, along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, testified about rising antisemitism on college campuses.

In her resignation letter to the Harvard community, Gay stated, “After consultation with members of the (Harvard) 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.”

The Harvard Corporation, the university's governing body, accepted Gay's resignation “with sorrow,” and Provost Alan Garber will serve as interim president.

Gay's controversial testimony included a refusal to give a definitive answer on whether calling for the genocide of Jews would violate the school's codes of conduct, citing the need to balance it against free-speech protections.

More than 70 U.S. lawmakers signed a letter demanding the removal of the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT. Liz Magill, the former president of the University of Pennsylvania, resigned earlier due to backlash for her comments during the hearing.

U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik, who criticized the presidents, commented on , “Harvard knows that this long overdue forced resignation of the antisemitic plagiarist president is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history.”

Despite the controversy, an independent review found Gay had not committed research misconduct, and she had submitted corrections for citation errors.

Gay, the first Black president in Harvard's history, and the Harvard Corporation noted in their statements that she had been subjected to racist attacks. Rev. Al Sharpton called Gay's resignation “an assault on the health, strength, and future of diversity, equity and inclusion,” blaming it on a “relentless campaign” against her.

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