Harvard's Plagiarizing President Resigns. Media Say Racism Made Her Do It. 

January 3, 2024

Claudine Gay announced her resignation as the president of Harvard University on Tuesday after a series of academic and leadership debacles. For much of the news media, however, Gay's resignation was about something else: right-wing racism.

The Washington Free Beacon and others in recent weeks revealed nearly 50 allegations of plagiarism against Gay, implicating half of her academic work, starting with the acknowledgments of her 1997 Harvard dissertation. The plagiarism scandal followed Gay's Dec. 5 congressional testimony, during which she struggled to defend her disastrous response to an outbreak of anti-Semitism on campus after Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist rampage in Israel. Asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews constituted harassment at Harvard, Gay told lawmakers, "it depends on the context."

"Amidst all of this, 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 resignation letter.

News outlets and journalists took it from there. Gay's scandals were not really about what they were about, explained the likes of the New York TimesPolitico, and CNN.

"Harvard Governing Board, Activists Say Former President was a Victim of Racism," blared a Politico headline.

MSNBC host Al Sharpton told CNN Gay's resignation "is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling."

NBC News convened a panel to determine whether Gay's resignation was about "student safety, plagiarism, or racism." According to MSNBC's Symone Sanders-Townsend, "every black professional" knew the answer.

New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones of the "1619 Project" fame said: "Racial justice programs are under attack. Black women will be made to pay."

New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay told MSNBC viewers, "you can hear and see the racism in the attacks."

The Associated Press asserted that conservative activist Christopher Rufo, in celebrating having "SCALPED" Claudine Gay with his reporting on the plagiarism allegations against her, was "invoking a gruesome practice taken up by white colonists who sought to eradicate Native Americans." The AP later updated the text to clarify that "some tribes" also scalped their enemies.

NBC News's Ben Collins, a Free Beacon Man of the Year, was indignant that the Times had covered Gay's scandals, accusing the paper of having "emboldened and platformed a racist harassment campaign."

Forbes contributor and DEI consultant Janice Gassam Asare argued: "No amount of wealth, achievements, accolades, or notoriety will offer safety and protection in an anti-black world."

Ibram X. Kendi, an Atlantic contributor and antiracism guru, suggested concerns about Gay's misconduct were simply an excuse for "a racist mob" to attack a black person.

Natasha Alford of the Grio warned, "What happened to Claudine Gay is a playbook they will follow again and again."

Meanwhile, Gay still has a job as a political science professor at Harvard, where she is expected to continue making about $1 million a year.