Harvard governing body ‘unanimously stands by’ embattled President Gay

The Harvard Corporation re-iterated its support for Claudine Gay after her Penn counterpart was fired for her congressional testimony


WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: (L-R) Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, Liz Magill, President of University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Sally Kornbluth, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Committee held a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The controversial president of America’s most famous university will remain in her position despite pressure from Harvard donors and alumni after a disastrous appearance at a congressional committee meeting. 

According to reports from the university newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, Claudine Gay will keep her job following a board meeting considering her position.

The Crimson reported on Tuesday morning that the governing body of the university, the Harvard Corporation is set issue a statement confirming Gay’s position as president. 

The statement released by the Harvard Corporation said: “In this tumultuous and difficult time, we unanimously stand in support of President Gay. At Harvard, we champion open discourse and academic freedom, and we are united in our strong belief that calls for violence against our students and disruptions of the classroom experience will not be tolerated. Harvard’s mission is advancing knowledge, research, and discovery that will help address deep societal issues and promote constructive discourse, and we are confident that President Gay will lead Harvard forward toward accomplishing this vital work.”
Earlier this week, dozens of members of the Harvard faculty indicated their support for Gay, with 570 academics signing a petition in her defence.

Alison Frank Johnson, a Harvard professor of history and a co-author of the document, told the Daily Mail: "I get the impression that many people don't know how much support she has, as a scholar, colleague, and administrator, within the university - including from people who sometimes disagree with her.”

While the exact wording of the petition has not been released, Frank Johnson said that it asks the Harvard, "not to bend to political pressure, including pressure to remove the president."

Gay’s position came into question after a now infamous Congressional hearing appearence by the heads of Harvard, Penn and MIT, none of whom were able to confirm that calling for the genocide of Jews went against their universities’ codes of conduct.

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, who along with Gay and MIT president Sally Kornbluth declined to answer the question definitively, was forced to resign last week after outcry from Jewish groups and alumni of the university. 

However, in a similar move to Harvard, the board of MIT backed president Kornbluth 

Last week, a rabbi resigned from Harvard’s antisemitism taskforce citing the “painfully inadequate testimony” given to Congress.

Rabbi David Wolpe, the Anti-Defamation League’s rabbinic fellow, also cited “events on campus” where Jews are routinely seen as oppressors.

He said: “Without rehashing all of the obvious reasons that have been endlessly adumbrated online, and with great respect for the members of the committee, the short explanation is that both events on campus and the painfully inadequate testimony reinforced the idea that I cannot make the sort of difference I had hoped.

“Still, there are several points worth making. I believe Claudine Gay to be both a kind and thoughtful person. Most of the students here wish only to get an education and a job, not prosecute ideological agendas, and there are many, many honorable, thoughtful and good people at the institution. Harvard is still a repository of extraordinary minds and important research.”

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