Harvard President Claudine Gay to Retain Position Amid Controversy Over Antisemitism Remark

Harvard President Claudine Gay to Retain Position Amid Controversy Over Antisemitism Remark

Harvard Stands by President Gay Amid Antisemitism Controversy

Siksha MUpdated: Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 09:04 PM IST
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President Claudine Gay | FPJ

In a statement by the Harvard University, the President, Claudine Gay will retain her position as the president of the University amid calls for her resignation over her comments on antisemitism in the campus. Earlier on Thursday Gay apologized for her remarks, which drew widespread national criticism and prompted Harvard Hillel's leadership to express distrust in her ability to safeguard Jewish students at the university.

"I am sorry," Gay said in an interview with The Crimson on Thursday. “When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” Gay added.

Harvard University issued statement

The statement by the Harvard said, "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."

"President Gay has apologized for how she handled her congressional testimony and has committed to redoubling the University’s fight against antisemitism", added the statement.

What was the fuss all about?

A request was made to dismiss Gay from the university, with 1,100 alumni signing the petition. The issue arose after Republican Elise Stefanik asked about pro-Palestinian student protestors calling for intifada or the genocide of Jews, and the presidents of leading US universities, such as the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and MIT, did not provide a clear response. The presidents had responded, claiming that they "personally did not agree with the rhetoric used by those students" and were "committed to preserving free speech on campus".

Gay's fate differ from other University heads in a similar case. University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, who appeared alongside Gay and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth had to resign.

Professors defended the President

As per the reports, at least 570 professors at the University defended the university’s embattled president, Claudine Gay, as she faces calls to resign following statements on campus antisemitism that have already triggered the resignation of the University of Pennsylvania president.

However Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has been very vocal against Gay. In his recent post he said, "I have been told now by two reporters that one of the factors that made it challenging for the @Harvard board to fire Gay was that they were concerned it would look like they were kowtowing to me." Ackman has donated millions to Harvard.

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