'I Am Sorry': Harvard President Does Damage Control on Disastrous Anti-Semitism Testimony

Claudine Gay (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
December 8, 2023

Harvard president Claudine Gay issued an apology for her remarks on anti-Semitism during congressional testimony earlier this week.

"I am sorry," Gay told the Harvard Crimson on Thursday. "Substantively, I failed to convey what is my truth."

Under questioning from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.), Gay refused to say whether calling for violence against Jews would violate Harvard's policies against harassment and bullying, saying it "depends on the context."

The exchange prompted immediate backlash from students and alumni. Harvard's Hillel chapter released a statement saying that Gay's testimony "calls into question her ability to protect Jewish students on Harvard's campus."

Hedge-fund billionaire and Harvard alumnus Bill Ackman called for Gay to "resign in disgrace."

Gay's apology is the latest attempt at damage control from Ivy League university leadership.

UPenn president Liz Magill, who also testified at Tuesday's hearing, released a video statement on Thursday after coming under heavy fire for failing to say whether calls for anti-Semitic violence violated the school's code of conduct. In the statement, she said that advocating for Jewish genocide was "evil" but failed to apologize for her remarks.

The UPenn Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting Thursday and is expected to ask Magill to step down.