Harvard University President Claudine Gay’s tenure has come to an end.
As previously reported by AFROTECH, Gay was appointed in December 2022 and officially inaugurated in October 2023 as Harvard’s first Black president and the second woman to serve in the position.
“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 shared in her resignation letter, per CNN. “This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries.”
She continued, “But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, 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.”
Gay also mentioned in her letter that prior to resigning, she had been “subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.”
The resignation comes after Gay has been hit with allegations of plagiarism, according to The Harvard Crimson.
What’s more, controversy was sparked after her December 2023 testimony before Congress regarding antisemitism on Harvard University’s campus. During the hearing, she and other Ivy League presidents were asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik, (R-NY), if “calling for the genocide of Jews” would violate their school’s code of conduct, per AP News. Gay’s response was that when “speech crosses into conduct, that violates our policies.” However, lawmakers later stated her response did not go far enough to condemn the extreme behavior.
As Gay has stepped down, Harvard University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Alan M. Garber will serve as interim president until a permanent successor is found.
While Gay is no longer the president of Harvard University, she will still be on the institution’s faculty, CNN reports.
As for Gay’s plagiarism accusations, the outlet states that U.S. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx wrote a letter on Dec. 20 to Harvard Corporation’s senior fellow, Penny Pritzker, “demanding information on Harvard’s response to ‘credible allegations of plagiarism’ by Harvard President Claudine Gay over a 24-year period.” Additionally, Foxx — who is the Republican chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee — demanded “all documents and communications concerning the initial allegations of plagiarism and the ‘independent review’” of Gay’s scholarship, the outlet shares. Harvard has been given more time to respond to lawmakers, and, as of this writing, no further details are available.