Pressure Mounts for Harvard President Claudine Gay Amidst Antisemitism Controversy
Harvard Faculty Rally to Support Gay
The president of Harvard University, Claudine Gay, is facing increasing pressure to resign as prominent alumni, donors, and politicians call for her ouster. However, a group of faculty members is rallying to support her, arguing that she is being unfairly criticized for her remarks about antisemitism.
Deciding Dr. Gay’s Fate
The Harvard Corporation, the body that has the final say in Dr. Gay’s future, is scheduled to meet on Monday. In response to the criticism, efforts are underway to save her job. Over 500 faculty members have signed a petition urging resistance against political pressures that contradict Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom.
Apology for Inadequate Remarks
Dr. Gay has apologized for her comments made before a congressional committee, admitting that they were inadequate. In an interview with The Harvard Crimson, she expressed regret, recognizing that her words caused distress and pain.
As the controversy intensifies, the fallout from last week’s hearing continues to deepen. The president of the University of Pennsylvania, M. Elizabeth Magill, has resigned, and calls for the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sally Kornbluth, to step aside are growing louder.
Congressional Investigation and Donor Threats
Following the hearing, Congressional Republicans have initiated an investigation into Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Major donors have also threatened to withdraw multimillion-dollar gifts. These developments have shocked academia and emboldened critics who argue that universities are not effectively addressing antisemitic rhetoric.
Equivocal Responses to Antisemitism
The controversy surrounding Dr. Gay began during the congressional proceeding when she appeared equivocal in her response to questions about university policies regarding the genocide of Jewish people. Representative Elise Stefanik, a Harvard graduate, expressed dissatisfaction with the answers given by the three university presidents.
Faculty Support and Petition
Despite the calls for Dr. Gay’s resignation, there have been few demands from faculty members and students on campus. A group of 14 faculty members has circulated a petition opposing her removal, emphasizing their commitment to academic freedom and resisting political pressure.
Donor and Alumni Reactions
The congressional exchange has generated stronger reactions among donors and alumni than among current faculty and students. However, some members of the Harvard community believe that Dr. Gay should not resign, as it would set a dangerous precedent for higher education.
Harvard Corporation’s Meeting
The Harvard Corporation, including Dr. Gay, met to discuss the university’s response to recent events. Although no policy changes were made, Dr. Gay’s future as president is expected to be a focal point of discussion during the Harvard Corporation’s meeting on Monday.
Tension and Support
Those familiar with the closed-door debate over Dr. Gay’s future note a tension between criticism of her handling of the questions and a desire not to succumb to pressure from critics. It is important to highlight that pressure had been mounting for weeks on the president of the University of Pennsylvania, unlike Dr. Gay, who had not faced strong criticism until the congressional hearing.
Julian Barnes, Jim Tankersley, and Maya Shwayder contributed reporting, and Susan Beachy contributed research.
Read More of this Story at www.nytimes.com – 2023-12-11 03:10:48
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