Harvard President Claudine Gay announced that she will be resigning Tuesday morning, following months of controversy over antisemitic speech on campus and accusations of plagiarism.
This brings to a close the shortest presidency in Harvard’s history. No announcement has been made so far about who will be replacing her as president. It has been confirmed, however, that University Provost Alan M. Garber ’76 will be serving as interim president.
Just before the news of her resignation became public, a report from The Free Beacon leaked that Gay was being hit with six new plagiarism accusations through a formal complaint filed with the university.
“In a 2001 article, Gay lifts nearly half a page of material verbatim from another scholar, David Canon, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin,” the Free Beacon wrote. According to their research, this is the eighth of Gay’s 17 published works (and 0 books—which is an extraordinarily low amount for a professional academic, let alone Ivy president, to have published) to be implicated in the scandal. That’s nearly half of everything she has ever released.
Gay has now been accused of almost 50 instances of plagiarism.
This followed several previous accusations concerning her Ph.D. thesis and other articles that contained passages lifted wholesale from works of other scholars, such as Carol M. Swain.
These accusations of plagiarism began when reporters took a deeper look into her resume following her disastrous Congressional testimony on Dec. 5th, in which she and other university presidents clumsily admitted that calling for the genocide of Jews in the context of the Israel-Hamas War was permitted under their current hate speech policies. Gay also faced criticism for what many saw as Harvard’s lackluster response to the Oct. 7th attack by Hamas on Israel.
Just three weeks ago, the Harvard Corporation (the governing body of Harvard University) rallied behind Gay and refused to fire her based on her handling of the antisemitism hearing and her initial plagiarism accusations.
Sources familiar with the matter claim former President Barack Obama advised Harvard not to fire Gay over the antisemitism comments, but at the time they noted the plagiarism scandal might come back to haunt her.
In her resignation letter, Gay said her decision to leave followed a conversation with the Harvard Corporation in which they agreed the institution was more important than “any individual.” They decided it would be best for her to resign to take the focus off of her and put it back on the school during “this moment of extraordinary challenge.”
“My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis,” she wrote.
She added that it has been “frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.”
Read her full letter below: