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Claudine Gay named 30th president of Harvard University, will be schools first Black leader

Source: Boston Globe / Getty

We tend to celebrate our firsts proudly within the Black community, and it was only six months ago that many were applauding as a community at the appointment of Claudine Gay as Harvard University’s first-ever Black president.

However, that all came to an end earlier today (January 2) with her resignation following some scathing accusations of antisemitism and even plagiarism.

 

RELATED: Black Woman Allowed To Sue Harvard For Using Pics Of Her Ancestors On Book Cover

In her resignation letter, available to read in full over at CNN Business, Gay states the decision wasn’t easy and that it’s been “difficult beyond words” to step down. However, as she states, “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.” Although she doesn’t state in detail what led her to make an exit, all signs point towards the past few weeks that saw her in two separate controversies at once. Actually, CNN reports that Gay might’ve already been planning to resign even before the latest round of plagiarism allegations that came forth on Monday.

A more detailed breakdown below, via CNN:

“Gay was undone in part by an ongoing plagiarism scandal and a disastrous congressional hearing last month in which she and other university presidents failed to explicitly say calls for genocide of Jewish people constituted bullying and harassment on campus.

Tensions have surged on some college campuses following the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas against Israel. There have been hundreds of protests and counterprotests on college campuses, with some of them turning violent.

The faces and names of some students allegedly linked to anti-Israel statements were displayed on mobile billboards near the campuses of both Harvard and Columbia. Another Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania, alerted the FBI to violent antisemitic threats made against some faculty members.”

In regards to the plagiarisms claims — here’s where things get hilariously petty from a writer’s perspective! — Gay was literally cited for citation errors and even missing quotation marks in her published works. While things looked grim as an investigation proceeded — a Harvard subcommittee discovered “one replica of a missing citation or quotation mark that had already been identified in a published paper” — the Ivy League university ultimately concluded that Gay’s offense was minimal, stating via a spokesperson, “The members of the subcommittee and the Corporation concluded that Gay’s inadequate citations, while regrettable, did not constitute research misconduct.”

Still, a probe has now been widened by the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce to include Gay’s allegations of plagiarism “over a period of 24 years,” as Republican Committee Chair Virginia Foxx wrote in a letter. In the note dated December 20, Foxx boldly states, “An allegation of plagiarism by a top school official at any university would be reason for concern, but Harvard is not just any university. It styles itself as one of the top educational institutions in the country.”

In an ironic twist of fate, many of the allegations against Gay have been spearheaded by conservative activists. That could lead many to assume that being Black might be playing a bigger role in the backlash. At the same time, plagiarism at one of the most prestigious educational institutes should be taken quite seriously, right?

 

Take a look below at the debate erupting on social media in reaction to Claudine Gay stepping down as president of Harvard, ending a Black history moment that only lasted just over six months. Feel free to sound off with your own thoughts as well:

 

Grand Opening, Grand Closing: Does Claudine Gay’s Resignation As Harvard’s First Black President Make Sense?  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

1. Claudine Gay wasn’t fired for being black. She was fired for being an anti-Semitism enabling plagiarist. I’m so tired of the black community using the color of our skin to shield people from accountability. Let’s leave that nonsense in 2023.

via @thecjpearson

2. In her resignation letter, Claudine Gay, disgraced former President of Harvard, blamed racism for her resignation. I would expect nothing less from a diversity hire. DEI is poison. It must be eradicated from our institutions.

via @libsoftiktok

3. Over 30 people showed up in a Zoom room I hosted today to discuss Dr. Claudine Gay’s resignation. Wisdom and tears were shared as we discussed what this really means for Black women as we navigate our workplaces across industries. There is unity in community.

via @DrMonicaCox

4. Claiming a Black person is an “affirmative action” or “diversity hire” is not the flex some would like. The end of Dr. Claudine Gay’s tenure as president of Harvard reminded me of this clip from Harvard alumna Joy Reid as to why.

via @cardiojaydoc02

5. Claudine Gay has no one to blame but herself. She chose to easy path of plagiarism—almost 50 times—over the hard path of writing original prose. It’s a pattern of serious fraud. Plain and simple. This moment is a useful litmus test. Anyone who is blaming Gay’s resignation on other factors—e.g., right-wingers or racism—is nuts and can safely be ignored for the rest of time.

via @coldxman

6. Poor Claudine Gay – she played the game and lost should have thought about that before she orchestrated and facilitated the harassment of pro Palestinians students and the denial of genocide This is not the time to uphold representational politics when they fail us

via @obaa_boni

7. Harvard President Claudine Gay has been fired… because she was pro-Palestine. Two observations: 🔹There’s no freedom of speech in the US. Why couldn’t the powers that be let her freely express her views? The totalitarian system in the US doesn’t arrest people for speech, but cancels them and deprives them of jobs and monetization opportunities. The more influential you are, the more censorship you face. 🔹If she were fired for any other reason, Harvard would have been accused of racism and sexism. But in the hierarchy of political correctness, anti-Israel is on top of the pyramid. Hence no blowback here. USA, the vassal state.

via @Kanthan2030

8. Rage at what these racists did to Claudine Gay. Couldn’t even keep a Black woman as president for one year without harassing & stalking her out. They have the most unbelievably horrific white men at the highest levels of leadership but Black women? Of course not.

via @timnitGebru

9. Claudine Gay’s story never should’ve been confused with the #ADOS story. This never should’ve bubbled to the level of a “Black” vs White controversy. How are ADOS—as a group—burdened with Gay’s failure when we were never blessed with her success?

via @BreakingBrown

10. What happened to Claudine Gay is a playbook they will follow again and again. They will do whatever it takes to undermine, humiliate and unseat Black people in positions of power they don’t want there.

via @NatashaSAlford