Harvard President Resigns Amid Scandal

Harvard President Claudine Gay stepped down this week as president of Harvard University. The resignation came amid multiple scandals, including a perceived rise of antisemitism on campus and revelations that Gay likely plagiarized academic work.

Gay said that she made the decision to step down “with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard.” She said that she consulted with the university’s corporate board, leaving her with the realization “that it is in the best interests of Harvard or me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

She said that it was “a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career.”

Gay also wrote that it was “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.”

Gay came under increasing pressure due to her testimony before Congress regarding antisemitism. Multiple organizations and students reported a significant increase of antisemitic activity since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023.

Gay received significant criticism due to her testimony, in which she did not directly condemn anti-Jewish sentiment. More than 30 student organizations signed a letter casting Israel as the cause of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack which killed more than 1,200 people.

Gay’s scholarship came under closer scrutiny following her high-profile testimony. Conservative activist Chris Rufo researched Gay’s doctoral thesis, finding that it included a number of nearly-identical sections to other academic work.

Further research resulted in multiple accusations of plagiarism against the outgoing president. On Monday, six more pieces of potentially plagiarized work were uncovered.

When Gay was under fire last month, former President Barack Obama reportedly stepped in, requesting that the university president not step down.

The former president reportedly contacted the college regarding her employment. The former president is a 1991 graduate of Harvard Law School. Neither Obama nor the university confirmed that such a call took place.a