On Tuesday, Harvard President Claudine Gay announced her resignation. She will return to her position as a faculty member.
The Harvard Crimson, Harvard’s school newspaper, first reported Gay’s resignation.
Gay sent a statement announcing her resignation to Harvard students and faculty shortly after the Harvard Crimson broke the news.
In her letter, Gay said, “After consultation with members of the Corporation, 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 with a focus on the institution rather than an individual.”
Gay expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to be Harvard’s President. As for her tenure as President, she said “I hope it will be seen as a moment of reawakening to the importance of striving to find our common humanity—and of not allowing rancor and vituperation to undermine the vital process of education.”
Gay did not specify the reason why she resigned in her letter.
Over the last several weeks, Gay has faced allegations of plagiarism that have impacted 17 of her published works.
On January 1, a new report by The Washington Free Beacon highlighted six more alleged examples of plagiarism by Harvard President Claudine Gay.
The Washington Free Beacon’s report included several examples of Gay’s alleged plagiarism.
In her article titled “The Effect of Minority Districts and Minority Representation on Political Participation in California, Gay appeared to have directly lifted several paragraphs and a footnote from a previously published book. The sentences only included minor changes in wording and the book’s author was not attributed directly to this passage. However, Gay does include the original author in her article’s bibliography.
David Canon, the author of the book Gay allegedly plagiarised (titled Race, Redistricting and Representation: The Unintended Consequences of Black Majority Districts) commented on the matter.
“I am not at all concerned about the passages”, Canon told the Washington Free Beacon. He added, “This isn’t even close to an example of academic plagiarism.”
Through all of the previous plagiarism accusations against Gay, Harvard’s highest governing body — the Harvard Corporation— had backed her.
After reviewing her works, Harvard Corporation only said that they found examples of inadequate citations. This is a much less severe charge, as it only implies Gay should have made it clearer who she was citing, instead of accusing her of not giving the source credit at all.
It is unclear what made the Corporation change its stance on Gay’s status as Harvard President.
The controversy of Gay’s alleged plagiarism came to light after her testimony in front of Congress over what some politicians described as anti-Semitic behavior on Harvard and other Ivy League campuses.
Gay was criticized after she struggled to answer questions from Congress members.
Gay’s testimony opened up a rift in the Harvard community, with some rushing to condemn her while others defended her.
Many of Harvard’s alumni and donors were displeased with Gay’s Congressional testimony.
However, Gay still enjoyed widespread support among faculty members, with hundreds of them signing a letter in her support. This letter was signed before allegations of plagiarism against Gay.
These faculty members felt that the pressure on Gay to resign was politically motivated. They urged the Corporation to “defend the independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom, including calls for the removal of President Claudine Gay.”
After Gay’s resignation, the Harvard Corporation announced current school Provost Alan M. Garber will serve as interim President.