Harvard President Resigns Amid Controversy

Claudine Gay is out after plagiarism allegations, handling of antisemitism on campus
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2024 12:31 PM CST
Harvard President Resigns Amid Controversy
Harvard President Claudine Gay speaks during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Updated with details from Gay's resignation letter. Harvard President Claudine Gay will not keep her job amid controversy after all, reports the Harvard Crimson and the Boston Globe. Gay resigned on Tuesday, per the New York Times. The move comes after she faced accusations of plagiarism in published papers, as well as criticism over her comments about antisemitism on campus at a congressional hearing. The university board backed her after the latter controversy, but the plagiarism allegations surfaced soon after that. In her resignation letter, Gay said she made the decision with a "heavy heart."

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 any individual," she wrote. Gay also alluded to the damage to her reputation. "Amidst all of this, it has been 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."

The resignation comes days after an op-ed by two members of the Crimson editorial board called for her to step down. "President Gay may be a good person," reads the piece authored by Brooks B. Anderson and Joshua A. Kaplan. "She may even be a praiseworthy scholar, despite the allegations. But that isn't enough to remain president. The leader of the world's foremost university must be held to a higher standard, one that Gay has unfortunately failed to meet." Gay became president in July, and her tenure is the shortest in school history since its founding in 1636, per the Times. She was the school's first Black president and its second female president. (More Harvard stories.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.