BREAKING: Harvard’s 1st Black President Resigns After 6 Months in Office

by Xara Aziz
YouTube via CNN/Getty Images

Just weeks after Harvard’s first Black president was accused of failing to insert citations and quotation marks that were omitted from original publications she claimed as her own, Dr. Claudine Gay has announced she is stepping down.

In a note sent to the Harvard community, she wrote, “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. 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.”

She continued: “But, after consultation with members of the 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.”

On Monday, The Washington Free Beacon, a right-wing online publication that spearheaded a campaign against Dr. Gay, submitted a complaint with “nearly 50 allegations, including over half a dozen examples never seen before.” The complaint was filed weeks after initial allegations charged her with plagarizing parts of her 1997 dissertation.

In its initial review of the plagiarism charges against Dr. Gay in December, Harvard said it reviewed the allegations and found that while there was some use of “duplicative language” it was not enough to charge her with research misconduct.

“I stand by the integrity of my scholarship,” Dr. Gay said statement following the initial plagiarism allegations she was charged with. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards.”

Days later, backlash ensued, causing Harvard Corporation to consider whether she should remain as president. At the time, the Corporation stated she would remain as head of the University.

Meanwhile, dozens of academics, scholars and experts have chimed in – with some in support of Dr. Gay remaining president, while others suggesting she step down.

At the time of this writing, Harvard has not commented on the latest allegations.

Before the plagiarism scandal surfaced, Dr. Gay apologized for testimony at a congressional hearing on antisemitism, in which critics said she flopped at showing they would stand up to antisemitism at Harvard.

“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,” Dr. Gay said at the time.

This story is developing.

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