Harvard University president Claudine Gay resigns
By TOI Desk Report January 3, 2024 Update on : January 3, 2024
Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigned from her position on Tuesday after just six months in the role after facing allegations of plagiarism and criticism over her comments about antisemitism on campus.
The university’s Provost Alan M Garber, 76, also Harvard’s chief academic officer, will serve as interim president effective immediately, reports BCC and CBS news.
The president on Tuesday announced her decision to resign in a letter addressed to the Harvard community. “It was in the “best interests” of the university for her to go,” Claudine Gay said in a letter announcing her resignation.
The 53-year-old had faced mounting pressure to step down in recent weeks over her handling of antisemitism since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. She was also accused of plagiarism in some of her past academic writings.
In her letter, she also said this was not an easy decision for her. It has indeed been difficult beyond words.
Dr Gay wrote that her departure would allow Harvard to “concentrate on the institution rather than any individual.”
Gay was the first black person and the second woman, to be appointed to lead the Ivy League university.
She served as president for six months, but her tenure was the shortest in its 388-year history.
Harvard, one of several universities in the US, is accused of failing to protect its Jewish students following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in October.
Jewish organisations reported an alarming rise in antisemitic incidents in the United States since the Israel-Hamas conflict began.
During a tense congressional hearing in December, Gay termed calls for the killing of Jews as abhorrent.
As her comment has prompted widespread criticism, she later apologised in an interview with the university’s student newspaper.
Some high-profile alumni and dozens of politicians called for Gay to step down over the comments.
However, the university kept her job despite the controversy, but since then US media outlets have brought allegations of plagiarism in her academic record.
Finally, she resigned on Tuesday.
In a statement, the university’s 11-member governing body said that Gay would resume her faculty position after her resignation.