Harvard President Claudine Gay resigns, shortest term in university history | News - Wishevoke

Harvard President Claudine Gay resigns, shortest term in university history | News

Updated January 2, 2024 at 7:15 p.m

Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned Tuesday afternoon after intense criticism of the university’s response to Hamas’ attack on Israel and the backlash to her disastrous testimony before Congress led to accusations of plagiarism and doubts about her personal academic integrity.

Gay’s tenure is the shortest in Harvard history at just six months and two days.

University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 will assume leadership in the interim until a new president is elected.

Her decision to resign effective immediately, first reported by The Crimson, marked a dramatic downfall for Gay, Harvard’s first black president and former dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Harvard Corporation – the university’s top governing body – announced it would begin its search for the president “in due course.” Although the email did not provide a timeline or announce the formation of a search committee, the process is expected to include gathering feedback from Harvard partners.

A source close to Gay said she made her decision to step down last week.

In an email Tuesday afternoon, Gay wrote that she decided to resign after discussions with members of the Harvard Corporation.

“It has become clear that it is in Harvard’s best interest for me to step down so that our community can meet this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual,” Gay wrote.

Gay, 53, added that she will continue to serve on the Harvard faculty.

In a follow-up email just minutes later, the company confirmed Gay’s resignation and thanked her for her service to the university.

“Her own message expressing her intention to resign eloquently underscores what those who have worked with her have long known – her commitment to the institution and its mission is deep and selfless,” Das wrote Company.

In a statement to The Crimson, former Harvard president and gay predecessor Lawrence S. Bacow wrote that the announcements saddened him.

“Claudine is a person of great intellect, integrity, vision and strength. She had much to contribute not only to Harvard, but to higher education as a whole. I regret that she will not have this opportunity,” Bacow wrote.

Claudine Gay was sworn in as Harvard's 30th president in a ceremony just over three months ago.

Claudine Gay was sworn in as Harvard’s 30th president in a ceremony just over three months ago. From Frank S. Zhou

Gay took office as the university’s 30th president on July 1, just two days after the Supreme Court ruled against Harvard in a landmark decision that effectively ended the use of race-conscious admissions practices.

At the time, the future of Harvard admissions appeared to be the focus of her presidency, which was expected to last more than a decade.

That changed on October 7th.

Gay faced a national backlash over the university first reaction on the Israel-Hamas war, which did not directly condemn Hamas or a controversial pro-Palestine declaration signed by more than 30 student groups.

Gay faced one scandal after another during her short tenure at the helm of Harvard, making national headlines again after she testified before Congress about anti-Semitism on college campuses and allegations of plagiarism surfaced in her scholarship.

Meanwhile, Gay faced intense pressure from outside voices calling for her removal or resignation, including Harvard donor Bill A. Ackman ’88, Rep. Elise M. Stefanik ’06 (R-N.Y.), and conservative activist Christopher F. Rufo.

“It has been disturbing to see doubts about my commitment to fighting hate and maintaining scientific rigor – two core values ​​that are fundamental to me – and it is frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial hostility to be stoked,” Gay wrote in her email Tuesday.

The announcement comes just three weeks after the group announced unanimous support for Gay after “extensive deliberations” following the congressional hearing.

Gay is now the second university president to testify at the resignation hearing. Liz Magill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, resigned just days after her statement.

Last month, the House Education and Workforce Committee opened one Congressional investigation in anti-Semitism from Harvard.

On December 20, the House Education and Workforce Committee made the announcement expand his investigation into the plagiarism allegations against Gay, suggesting that it could jeopardize the university’s accreditation and federal funding. Harvard was in the process of providing the committee with a… a lot of requested documents in connection with the allegations before Gay’s resignation.

Donors also came both privately and publicly to stop their financial contributions to Harvard. Nearly half of the university’s annual revenue comes from philanthropy, which has led to a backlash from donors serious inner concern among Harvard’s fundraising staff.

University Provost Alan M. Garber '76 became Harvard's interim president after Claudine Gay resigned Tuesday, effective immediately.

University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 became Harvard’s interim president after Claudine Gay resigned Tuesday, effective immediately. From Claire Yuan

Gay’s decision to resign strengthened Garber and the university Provost since 2011on the role of interim president.

Garber has served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. As principal, Garber leads cross-school initiatives and oversees university teaching, employment, research, international affairs and special projects such as the Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery Initiative.

As interim president, Garber faces the difficult task of leading Harvard through one of its most turbulent periods in nearly two decades. Garber, who is Jewish, will also be tasked with unifying a campus that remains bitterly divided over fighting in Israel and Gaza.

Garber wrote in a statement Tuesday that as interim president he will focus on “advancing our mission and helping to heal and strengthen a university that I value.”

“There is much work to be done and although today was a difficult day, I know what this community can achieve together,” he added. “I am confident that we will overcome the challenges we face and build a better future for Harvard.”

– Employee Emma H. ​​​​Haidar can be reached at emma.haidar@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @HaidarEmma.

– Editor Cam E. Kettles can be reached at cam.kettles@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @cam_kettles or on threads @camkettles.

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