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Harvard says that president Claudine Gay is staying in post, despite huge backlash over her hesitance to denounce calls for the 'genocide of Jews'

Matthew Loh,Grace Dean   

Harvard says that president Claudine Gay is staying in post, despite huge backlash over her hesitance to denounce calls for the 'genocide of Jews'
  • Harvard announced on Tuesday that university president Claudine Gay will remain in post.
  • The announcement comes amid backlash for her testimony at a Congressional hearing last Wednesday.

Harvard announced on Tuesday that university president Claudine Gay will remain in post.

Gay, who has been in post as Harvard president for around six months, has faced intense backlash for her failure at a Wednesday congressional hearing to explicitly denounce calls for violence against Jews.

The Harvard Corporation, one of the college's governing boards, said in a statement that it reaffirmed its support for Gay's leadership and that she was "the right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing."

It noted, however, that the university's initial statement in response to the conflict in the Middle East "should have been an immediate, direct, and unequivocal condemnation."

Gay and two other Ivy League leaders, MIT's president Sally Kornbluth and University of Pennsylvania's president Elizabeth Magill, were thrust into the spotlight after being pressed at the hearing on their stances toward antisemitism on campus.

New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik repeatedly asked all three if calls for the "genocide of Jews" violated their schools' codes of conduct. None gave a straight answer.

"It can be, depending on the context," Gay said.

Their responses sparked a public relations nightmare for the three academic leaders, with politicians, billionaires such as the increasingly vocal Bill Ackman, and the White House condemning their waffled remarks.

The backlash compelled all three university leaders to clarify their remarks over the next day, though the blowback continued, including an apology from Gay.

"I am sorry," Gay told The Harvard Crimson on Thursday. "Words matter."

"I got caught up in what had become at that point, an extended combative exchange about policies and procedures," she said.

Magill stepped down on Sunday, after months of criticism from alumni and donors over her handling of antisemitic controversy on campus, even before the October 7 terror attacks and Israel's brutal bombardment and invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Magill did not explicitly apologize for her remarks on Wednesday.

"One down. Two to go," Stefanik wrote on X after Magill's resignation.

While Gay has been similarly criticized, more than 500 Harvard faculty members also signed a petition in support of the university president.

A political scientist who was inaugurated in July, Gay focused much of her past work on how social and economic factors influence how people vote and form their political views.




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