Harvard names Jewish replacement for ousted President

Former president Claudine Gay resigned after a plagiarism scandal earlier this week


Harvard has named Alan Garber, a Jewish professor and provost as its interim president following Claudine Gay’s resignation.

Garber said his focus as interim president will be on “advancing our mission and helping to heal and strengthen a university that I cherish”. He called the current crisis on campus the worst in his 12 years as provost – including Covid. “It’s a combustible situation, and one in which many people are grieving,” he told the Crimson.

His presidency follows Gay’s controversial six-month-long term, marred by accusations of plagiarism. Gay stepped down from the role, which she held for the shortest period in Harvard’s history, on Tuesday.

Garber has previously expressed disappointment with Harvard’s response to the war in Gaza. “I certainly have regrets about the first statement,” he told the Harvard Crimson. “Our goal is to ensure that our community is safe, secure, and feels well supported — and that first statement did not succeed in that regard.”

Harvard’s initial response to the war in Gaza failed to condemn Hamas, or a controversial letter signed by more than 30 Harvard student groups, which had called Israel “entirely responsible” for the violence.

After releasing more than six statements on the war, it was Gay’s appearance at congress which forced her resignation. The former president failed to condemn calls for the genocide of Jews as harassment, or state that Jewish students had the right to feel safe on campus. Following her testimony, billionaire donors and students boycotted the university.

In her resignation letter on Tuesday, Gay maintained she had been subject to “personal attacks and threats fuelled by racial animus,” but admitted it was in the “best interests” of Harvard for her to resign.

Harvard said: “We are grateful to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgement, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period”.


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