Claudine Gay Resigns As Harvard President, Claims ‘Racial Animus’ Fueled Criticism
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, testifies before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Committee held a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Claudine Gay resigned as president of Harvard University on Tuesday in a letter to the university community, as first reported by the Harvard Crimson.

Gay’s reported resignation comes in the wake of numerous plagiarism allegations as well as her controversial congressional testimony on what Harvard is doing to combat anti-Semitism on campus after Hamas’ attack on Israel

“It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president,” Gay said in her resignation letter. “This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries.”

“My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis,” Gay continued.

Then Gay tried to diminish the allegations against her by claiming “racial animus” had fueled some of the criticism against her.

“Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubts cast on my commitments to confronting hate and upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus,” she wrote.

Gay has been hit with nearly 50 allegations of plagiarism affecting eight of her 17 published works.

One of the scholars Gay is accused of plagiarizing, Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain, blasted Harvard in late December for how it handled the accusations against Gay.

“I have a problem with the way Harvard has reacted to the entire situation, because it seems like — with the assistance of some of their professors and other elites — they’re trying to redefine what is plagiarism,” she said. “They’re making the argument that there are different levels and, by extension, that some of it is acceptable. That is a problem for higher education in America.”

In December, Gay along with the presidents of MIT and the University of Pennsylvania testified to Congress and avoided answering whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated the universities’ codes of conduct.


“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay told lawmakers. She said such hate speech is “at odds with the values of Harvard” and that when that kind of “speech crosses into conduct, that violates our policies.”

Several high-profile donors paused their donations to the Ivy League school, and early applications to Harvard dipped about 17%, the school said last month.

Additionally, Congress has launched an investigation into Harvard over anti-Semitism on campus that now also includes the plagiarism allegations.

Gay’s tenure, a little over 6 months according to the Crimson, was the shortest in the university’s history.

Mairead Elordi contributed to this report.

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