The months-long saga involving a prestigious American university has finally come to an end.
On Tuesday, Claudine Gay resigned as president of Harvard University, following intense criticism about congressional testimony she gave last month as well as accusations of plagiarism.
Gay is now the second president of an Ivy League school to resign after that congressional testimony where she and two others refused to unequivocally say that on-campus calls for the genocide of Jewish people would constitute a violation of their school’s code of conduct.
Liz Magill stepped down as the University of Pennsylvania president on December 9.
Gay, who became the first Black president in Harvard’s history, announced that she was departing through a letter sent to the university’s community. She only served in that role for a few months.
In her letter, Gay wrote:
“[It’s 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.”
But, she added:
“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.”
Following her testimony, some conservative activists were unable to unearth multiple examples of plagiarism in the doctoral dissertation she wrote in 1997.
At first, the university’s governing board, known as The Harvard Corporation, supported Gay. They said they reviewed her scholarly work, which showed “a few instances of inadequate citation” yet no evidence of misconduct in her research.
But, the board said only a few days after that they found two more examples of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.” They further said Gay would be updating the dissertation and also request corrections be made.
All of that didn’t stop people from calling for Gay to resign amidst these controversies.
Following Gay’s resignation announcement, activist Christopher Rufo took to the social media platform X to write he was “glad she’s gone.” He wrote:
“Rather than take responsibility for minimizing antisemitism, committing serial plagiarism, intimidating the free press and damaging the institution, she calls her critics racist.”
He further wrote that “this is the poison” of DEI ideology – referring to programs revolved around diversity, equity and inclusion.
It wasn’t just activists who celebrated her resignation, though. Even some students at the university said they have felt unsafe ever since Gay refused to denounce hate.
Yoel Zimmermann, who’s a research undergraduate student at Harvard visiting from Germany, said as a student who is Jewish, he and other members of his community aren’t comfortable with the campus’ climate.
He said recently:
“I think it was about time that Claudine Gay resigned. She just did too many things wrong, especially with her testimony in Congress. I think that was just the kind of final tipping point that should have led to her removal immediately.”