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Updated January 3rd, 2024 at 09:45 IST

Harvard University Prez Claudine Gay resigns amid anti-semitism uproar & plagiarism allegations

Harvard's first Black president resigned amidst scrutiny over anti-Semitism, allegations of plagiarism, and controversies surrounding her leadership.

Harvard's first black President Claudine Gay.
Harvard's first black President Claudine Gay. | Image:X
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New York: Claudine Gay, the president of Harvard University, tendered her resignation on Tuesday following intense scrutiny regarding her handling of issues surrounding anti-Semitism and allegations of academic plagiarism, as per media reports. The resignation comes amidst mounting pressure and criticisms directed at Gay's leadership.

The allegations against Gay included claims of inadequate citation of scholarly sources in her academic work. These accusations, published anonymously by a conservative online outlet, added to the existing criticisms surrounding her tenure.

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Furthermore, Gay faced significant backlash after she declined to unequivocally address whether advocating for the genocide of Jews violated Harvard's code of conduct. This occurred during her testimony to Congress, alongside other university heads, raising concerns and fueling the ongoing controversies, media reports added.

In her resignation letter, Gay mentioned experiencing personal threats and what she described as ‘racial animus’. Her resignation comes after the initial support she received from Harvard Corporation, the university's governing body, despite the fallout from her congressional testimony.

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However, as per reports, the Corporation did express dissatisfaction with the university's initial response to the October 7 attacks attributed to Hamas, an incident that led to further discord amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. The conflict, marked by Israel's offensive actions, resulted in extensive damage in Gaza and a significant loss of lives, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry. The call for Gay's resignation came from over 70 lawmakers, including members from both parties, as well as influential Harvard alumni and donors, according to a media agency. Despite initial support from over 700 Harvard faculty members, Gay decided to step down.

"It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president," Gay said in her statement confirming the resignation, as reported by the Harvard Crimson.

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The controversy at Harvard University unfolded against the backdrop of increased incidents of anti-Semitism and violence targeting both Jews and Muslims across American universities amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel condemned this rise, calling it a “whopping wave of anti-Semitism.”

Bill Ackman, a former student and major donor, highlighted the impact of Gay's alleged failures, claiming billions of dollars in withdrawn and paused donations to the university. Claudine Gay, 53, a professor of political science and the first Black president in Harvard's 368-year history, faced immense pressure due to these controversies, leading to her resignation.

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"Leadership failure and denial of anti-Semitism have a price. Hope glorious Harvard University learns from this dismal conduct," remarked Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz in response to the reports of Gay's departure.

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Published January 3rd, 2024 at 09:45 IST

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