Harvard University president Claudine Gay is going to keep her position — for now — despite failing to tackle antisemitism on campus, and despite failing to state that calling for the genocide of Jews would violate Harvard’s code of conduct.
In the days since her disastrous testimony in Congress last Tuesday, Gay has tried to clean up her statements, and has apologized. “What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth,” she said.
But as the Harvard Corporation — the governing body of the university — met for a scheduled gathering on Monday, Gay received the support of the full executive committee of the Harvard Alumni Association. Hundreds of faculty members and black alumni also signed letters of support.
Now, the Harvard Crimson reported, Gay is likely to stay — though the Harvard Corporation has raised concern about plagiarism allegations that emerged in recent days:
The Harvard Corporation expressed concerns about allegations of plagiarism in University President Claudine Gay’s academic work Tuesday morning, even as the board declared its unanimous support for Harvard’s embattled president, providing Gay with a path forward to remain in office.
“As members of the Harvard Corporation, we today reaffirm our support for President Gay’s continued leadership of Harvard University,” the board wrote in a University-wide statement on Tuesday. “In this tumultuous and difficult time, we unanimously stand in support of President Gay.”
While the Corporation said it did not believe that the allegations amount to misconduct, it announced that Gay agreed to amend two publications.
The Crimson noted that the plagiarism issue could be more dangerous to Gay than her failure to handle antisemitism, which has provoked public outrage since Harvard indulged student groups who blamed Israel for the October 7 terror attack by Hamas.
Update: The statement by the Harvard Corporation, led by former Obama administration official Penny Pritzker, follows:
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
As members of the Harvard Corporation, we today reaffirm our support for President Gay’s continued leadership of Harvard University. Our extensive deliberations affirm our confidence that President Gay is the right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing.
So many people have suffered tremendous damage and pain because of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack, and the University’s initial statement should have been an immediate, direct, and unequivocal condemnation. Calls for genocide are despicable and contrary to fundamental human values. President Gay has apologized for how she handled her congressional testimony and has committed to redoubling the University’s fight against antisemitism.
With regard to President Gay’s academic writings, the University became aware in late October of allegations regarding three articles. At President Gay’s request, the Fellows promptly initiated an independent review by distinguished political scientists and conducted a review of her published work. On December 9, the Fellows reviewed the results, which revealed a few instances of inadequate citation. While the analysis found no violation of Harvard’s standards for research misconduct, President Gay is proactively requesting four corrections in two articles to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from the original publications.
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.
The Fellows of Harvard College
Penny Pritzker, Senior Fellow
Timothy R. Barakett, Treasurer
Kenneth I. Chenault
Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar
Paul J. Finnegan
Karen Gordon Mills
Diana L. Nelson
Tracy P. Palandjian
Shirley M. Tilghman
Theodore V. Wells, Jr.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.