The dean of the prestigious Harvard University, Claudine Gay, resigned this Tuesday (2) from her position. The academic had been under pressure to leave her post for weeks, and negative reactions to her statements about anti-Semitism at a congressional hearing prompted by the Israel-Hamas war in December ended up adding to accusations of plagiarism in her career.
In a letter posted on the university’s website, Gay says it was an honor to serve as president, but that after conversations with other faculty members, “it has become clear that it is in Harvard’s best interests for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenges focusing on the institution rather than the individual.”
Gay’s mandate, the first woman to hold this position, lasted around six months. In the letter, she states that she will return to the faculty, resuming teaching and research activities. Alan M. Garber will serve as interim president until a new dean is chosen.
During testimony before a U.S. House committee on anti-Semitism, Gay, along with other women deans, refused to answer “yes” or “no” to a Republican congresswoman’s question about whether or not calling for the genocide of Jews would violate U.S. codes of conduct. teaching.
The deans argued that it was necessary to balance such a ban with protections for the freedom of expression of their students, faculty and other employees. This response was the opening for legislators to ask the institutions to remove them from their positions.
Pressure against Gay grew in December, when Mary Elizabeth Magill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, resigned from her position the day before a meeting of the institution’s board of directors that was supposed to debate whether or not she would remain in the post.