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Harvard University President Claudine Gay speaks during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Dec. 5, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Harvard President Resigns Amid Plagiarism Claims, Backlash Over Antisemitism Testimony

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Embattled Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigned Tuesday amid plagiarism accusations and criticism over testimony at a congressional hearing where she was unable to say unequivocally that calls on campus for the genocide of Jews would violate the school’s conduct policy.

Gay announced her departure, which came just months into her tenure, in a letter to the Harvard community.

She had been accused of six additional allegations of plagiarism on Monday, bringing the total number to almost 50, The Free Beacon reported. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Carol M. Swain, from whose work Gay was accused of plagiarizing, asked on the social platform X Tuesday, "Why did it take Harvard University and Ms. Gay so long to do the right thing for the good of the nation?"

In an earlier post on Monday, Swain wrote, "I'm waiting for the other Ivy League institutions to weigh in and help us resolve this complex issue of what constitutes actionable plagiarism. Harvard University's mishandling of this matter harms higher education and will have a negative trickle down effect on K-12 educational institutions."

"Perhaps, the biggest loser of all is the Harvard Corporation. It has failed to show it has acted in the best interests of the institution," she added. 

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slider img 2As CBN News reported, Gay and the presidents of MIT and the University of Pennsylvania came under fire last month for their lawyerly answers to a line of questioning from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) who asked whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” would violate the college’s code of conduct. 

The three university presidents had been called before the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce to answer accusations that universities were failing to protect Jewish students amid rising fears of antisemitism worldwide and backlash against Israel’s war in Gaza.

Gay said it depended on the context, adding that when “speech crosses into conduct, that violates our policies.” The answer faced swift backlash from Republican and some Democratic lawmakers as well as the White House. 

Elise Stefanik: "Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard's rules on bullying and harassment? yes or no?" 
Claudine Gay: "It can be depending on the context..."
Stefanik: "What's the context?
Gay: "Targeted at an individual..."
Stefanik: "It's targeted at Jewish students and Jewish individuals... do you understand your testimony is dehumanizing them?"

Gay later apologized, telling Harvard's The Crimson student newspaper that she got caught up in a heated exchange at the House committee hearing and failed to properly denounce threats of violence against Jewish students. 

“What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community - threats to our Jewish students - have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,” Gay said.

Gay had been named Harvard's president in July.  As CBN News reported in November, Gay had eventually condemned chants of "from the river to the sea" in a letter addressed to members of the Harvard Community and posted to the university's website. Critics deem the Palestinian slogan to be genocidal against the Jewish people in Israel.

Last Thursday, Rabbi David Wolpe resigned from a new committee on antisemitism created by Gay, saying in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that “events on campus and the painfully inadequate testimony reinforced the idea that I cannot make the sort of difference I had hoped.” 

The House committee announced Thursday it will investigate the policies and disciplinary procedures at Harvard, MIT, and Penn. Separate federal civil rights investigations were previously opened at Harvard, Penn, and several other universities in response to complaints submitted to the U.S. Education Department.

And while many welcomed Gay's resignation, they say the problems at leading universities go much deeper than just the leaders. They argue the schools have been engulfed by left-wing ideology. 

North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx (R) said, "There has been a hostile takeover of post-secondary education by political activists, woke faculty, and partisan administrators." Critics will be watching top schools to see if there are any real changes. 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of