Harvard President Claudine Gay said she would resign from her position, ending a six-month tenure marred by allegations of plagiarism and backlash over her congressional testimony about antisemitism on campus.
Gay had come under pressure to resign from Harvard’s Jewish community and some members of Congress over her comments at the Dec. 5 congressional hearing, while also facing several allegations of plagiarism for her academic work in recent months.
In a letter to the Harvard community, Gay said her decision to step down had been “difficult beyond words.”
“After consultation with members of the (Harvard) Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual,” she wrote.
The Harvard Corporation, the university’s 11-member governing body, said in an email to the community that its members had accepted Gay’s resignation “with sorrow,” and that the school’s provost and chief academic officer, Alan Garber, would take over as interim president.
Gay, former University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth testified before a U.S. House of Representatives committee on Dec. 5 about a rise in antisemitism on college campuses following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in October.
The trio declined to give a definitive “yes” or “no” answer to a question by U.S. Republican Representative Elise Stefanik as to whether calling for the genocide of Jews would violate their schools’ codes of conduct regarding bullying and harassment, saying they had to balance it against free-speech protections.