Harvard President Claudine Gay Resigns in Disgrace Amid Plagiarism, Anti-Semitism Scandals

Claudine Gay (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
January 2, 2024

Harvard University president Claudine Gay stepped down Tuesday following allegations of plagiarism in her academic work and controversy over her response to anti-Semitism on campus.

"After consultation with members of the [Harvard] Corporation," she wrote in a letter to the Harvard community, "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."

Gay's resignation comes less than 24 hours after the Washington Free Beacon reported on new allegations of plagiarism against her, and it marks the shortest tenure of any president in the university's history at six months and two days, according to the student-run Harvard Crimson, which first reported Gay's resignation.

"It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to 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," Gay wrote in her letter. She added that she will transition to a faculty position and resume "scholarship and teaching."

Since Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel, Gay has faced criticism for her response to anti-Semitism on campus. Gay faced calls for her resignation in December, when she, along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in testimony before Congress that calling for the genocide of Jews would not necessarily violate the school's code of conduct.

In the wake of her testimony, Gay faced allegations that she plagiarized other scholars in her academic work. The Free Beacon reported on new allegations Tuesday, bringing the total number of plagiarism allegations to almost 50, implicating 8 of her 17 published works.

Gay's resignation comes nearly a month after University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill stepped down from her position. Magill resigned four days after her own controversial congressional testimony on anti-Semitism.