Harvard has announced that Claudine Gay will be staying on as president of the university despite her disastrous testimony before Congress last week in which she claimed that calling for the genocide of Jews would only violate her school’s bullying and harassment policies “depending on the context.”
Harvard Board Stands By Gay
CNN reported that after deliberating on Monday night, the school’s board known as the Harvard Corporation decided to allow Gay, who has been touted as the school’s first black president, to keep her position despite widespread calls for her removal in the wake of her testimony.
“As members of the Harvard Corporation, we today reaffirm our support for President Gay’s continued leadership of Harvard University,” read a statement signed by all board members, with the exception of Gay. “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.”
“So many people have suffered tremendous damage and pain because of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack, and the University’s initial statement should have been an immediate, direct, and unequivocal condemnation,” the board continued. “Calls for genocide are despicable and contrary to fundamental human values. President Gay has apologized for how she handled her congressional testimony and has committed to redoubling the University’s fight against antisemitism.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik Fires Back
House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has already fired back by blasting Harvard’s board for its “complete moral failure” in standing by Gay.
“There is a reason why the testimony at the Education Workforce Committee garnered 1 billion views worldwide, and it’s because those university presidents made history by putting the most morally bankrupt testimony into the Congressional Record, and the world saw it,” Stefanik said, according to Fox News. “As a Harvard graduate, I’m reminded of Harvard’s motto, Veritas, which goes back – and it’s older than the founding of our country, it goes back to the 1640s. In addition, the motto was Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae – Truth for Christ and the Church.”
“Larry Summers, who was president of Harvard when I was an undergrad, talked about the meaning of Veritas is divine truth, moral truth. Let me be clear. Veritas does not depend on the context,” Stefanik said. “This is a moral failure of Harvard’s leadership and higher education leadership at the highest levels, and the only change they have made to their code of conduct, where they failed to condemn calls for genocide of the Jewish people, the only update to the code of conduct is to allow a plagiarist as the president of Harvard.”
New York Democratic Rep. Daniel Goldman also blasted Harvard for keeping Gay on as president, arguing that the school is not doing enough to protect its students from the rise of antisemitism on college campuses.
“If they are unable to enforce their code of conduct, then they either need to get a new code of conduct or they need to get a new president,” Goldman said. “I hope there is a significant change at Harvard if Dr. Gay is going to stay.”
University Of Pennsylvania President Resigns
Liz Magill, who also testified before Congress last week, resigned as president of the University of Pennsylvania over the weekend after she received similar backlash to Gay.
“It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution. It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions,” Magill said in a brief statement, according to NPR.
“One down. Two to go,” Stefanik wrote on social media afterwards, referring to Gay and MIT President Sally Kornbluth. “In the case of @Harvard, President Gay was asked by me 17x whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard’s code of conduct. She spoke her truth 17x. And the world heard.”
Daily Mail reported that in the wake of Gay’s testimony, Harvard has lost a staggering $1 billion in donations. Gay’s school board may be standing by her, but she is facing an uphill battle when it comes to winning back the respect of many members of the Harvard community, given how many calls came in for her firing.
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