Harvard President Under Fire Over Antisemitism, Plagiarism

Harvard University’s governing board was set to meet on Monday as calls grow for the resignation of President Claudine Gay amid allegations of antisemitism and plagiarism. The controversy became intense after Gay testified last week at a congressional hearing about increasing antisemitism on Harvard’s campus.

The Harvard Corporation faces mounting pressure to force a decision on Gay’s future as over 500 faculty members have signed a petition speaking against political pressure that they say threatens academic freedom. That support for Gay comes while a larger public outcry demands she be ousted. As is the case in many parts of American culture, the situation surrounding Israel’s military action in Gaza is leading to deep division.

The same controversy has been playing out at other elite American schools. Former University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill stepped down after taking sharp criticism for failing to condemn calls for Jewish genocide by members of her school community.

Gay’s qualification to lead the Ivy League institution is also under attack because of new questions about her academic integrity. Research by Christopher Rufo alleges that sections of Gay’s Ph.D. dissertation contain plagiarized material. His findings highlight instances where the academic work replicates language from scholarly works without quotation marks or proper attribution. If the allegations are accurate, the actions likely violate Harvard’s academic integrity policy.

Famous Harvard alum and prominent attorney Alan Dershowitz has publicly criticized Gay’s leadership in the last week. He told reporters, “America watched in disbelief as these three sat before a Congressional committee this week and declined to call for the disciplining of demonstrators on their campuses, who chant for the mass murder of Jews.”

Pointing out a double standard being applied by university officials, Dershowitz added: “These university leaders failed a basic test of moral clarity when they couldn’t bring themselves to uphold the same standard for Jewish students that they would for any other group on campus.”

As of mid-day on Monday, Gay remained in office after the board met in the morning to consider Gay’s status. The board reportedly discussed Gay’s position in light of her “apology” for some of her statements made during her congressional testimony.