Claudine Gay Should Go

By Peter Wood and David Randall, NAS

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) calls on the Harvard Corporation to remove Claudine Gay from Harvard College’s presidency.

President Gay is at the center of the controversy that followed her December 5 testimony to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, in which she found herself unable to give a clear answer to questions about what Harvard could or would do in response to calls for genocide against Jews. Her answers on that occasion were far from satisfactory, but they are not the only reason why she should be removed from the presidency.

Her performance on December 5 should be—to borrow a word she used repeatedly on that occasion—put into context. The context in this case consists of:

  • Her shoddy professional work, which would by normal standards disqualify her for any academic appointment at Harvard.
  • Her record of plagiarism.
  • Her promotion of racist policies.
  • Her vindictive and arbitrary administrative punishment of Harvard college members.

Some of this was known or knowable at the time of her appointment as president, but a great deal more is known today.

The context also includes Claudine Gay’s on the-record statements about the purpose of a Harvard education. She provided a remarkable summary of her views in her memorandum on August 20, 2020, to the Faculty of Arts & Sciences when she was serving as Dean. In that memo she set out her radical vision of the “transformational project” she had in mind for Harvard—a project that would redefine every aspect of the university in an effort to advance what she called “racial justice.” This meant prioritizing race in faculty appointments; pursuing “inclusive excellence” (a euphemism for lowering academic standards); expanding the diversity bureaucracy—aka expanding “leadership opportunities for staff of color;” and selectively favoring minority candidates for promotion of staff in managerial and executive roles.

None of this was hidden, though the general public appears to have little understanding as to what it meant and how forcefully President Gay would implement it. Nor was it clear that the U.S. Supreme Court would strike down the controlling opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, which had given Harvard and many other universities what they took to be license to use racial preferences in a wide variety of academic contexts. The decision in Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard demands a fundamental rethinking of such policies. Claudine Gay, who is profoundly committed to racialist policies, is plainly not the right person to lead Harvard into this new era.

In addition to these considerations, since the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7, President Gay has exhibited a moral obtuseness that marries intolerance for all dissent from the diversity, equity, and inclusion regime, to insensitivity to Jews faced with anti-Jewish harassment. President Gay’s insistence that her hands were tied by the principle of free speech was belied by her long-standing willingness to crush the free speech of others who expressed views with which she disagreed.

Gay has never deserved to be a member in good standing of the American academy, much less to be president of Harvard, and Harvard can only begin to restore its badly tarnished reputation when it has removed her from the presidency.

Lest any of the points mentioned here be thought insubstantial or uncorroborated, note:

  • Christopher Rufo and Chris Benet have just obtained documentation that apparently proves that Gay plagiarized substantial portions of her doctoral thesis—not least in irony, from noted conservative political scientist Carol Swain.
  • As noted a year ago by NAS’s David Randall, Gay, although promoted within the academic track, has never published an academic book. This is not a sin as plagiarism is, but it registers her obvious unfitness to be a professor at Harvard, much less its president.
  • Chris Brunet also has shown how Gay’s administrative work at Harvard has consisted to a considerable extent of covering up real scandals or in groundlessly persecuting innocent professors, such as Roland Fryer.
  • Gay argued forcefully in 2020 for the tighter imposition of the so-called “anti-racist” agenda at Harvard University—which is actually racist—including exhortation for, and announcement of her own plans to execute, racially discriminatory hiring practices.
  • Since the October 7 mass murder of Israelis by Hamas, Gay has winked at the chronic harassment of Jews by Muslims and the far left at Harvard, and extenuated and protected it by calling it free speech.

Gay also has revealed extraordinary moral obtuseness by her inability to speak clearly to condemn the moral degenerates of Harvard who have glorified the butchery of Jews and, under the thin disguise of the slogan “From the River to the Sea,” called for the genocide of the Jewish nation of Israel.

The time has come to bring down the curtain on a presidential appointment that plainly had the support of campus activists and a fair number of faculty members—but which was from the beginning ill-founded, and is now a national embarrassment.

December 13, 2023 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. From Bill Ackman

    I have heard from a source that is reliable but a step or two removed from the situation that the @Harvard
    Corporation has asked President Gay to resign and she has refused.

    Gay has apparently said that if she is fired, she will sue. Gay has retained her own counsel.

    I can’t 100% confirm the above is true, but if it is, I am sure the Board is concerned about what may emerge in legal discovery in the event of litigation.

    At this point, however, what choice does the Board have?

    If the Board makes an inappropriate deal on severance or gives Gay a guaranteed position at Harvard, it will look like a payoff to keep her quiet. I can’t see how she stays at Harvard in any capacity.

    President Gay’s performance and her academic record issues provide plenty of cause for termination without compensation.

    But at every step so far, the Board has made the wrong call and dug a deeper hole for themselves and Harvard.

    As we all know, the best time to start making good decisions is now.

    The sooner Gay is gone, the sooner repairing the damage can begin.

    Notably, Gay is a symptom of the problem at Harvarrd which is systemic within the education system. Her termination, which should have come in the minutes following her Congressional testimony, will only lead to some other Leftist goon being put in her place in an attempt to reverse their funding issues without any meaningful reforms being pursued. When Gay finally does go, the pressure on Harvard and her sister Woke institutions must be maintained.

  2. I’m a Harvard grad from some 40 years ago.

    Harvard is now Moscow University on the Charles River. The students are pathetic and chosen that way. Conforming to the Cultural Marxist Zeitgeist, bien pensant through and through and lacking insight as well as knowledge. There are a few exceptions. The faculty is worse with a few exceptions.

    Claudine Gay is not as worthy as the lowliest cook in the US Army. She is merely a useful idiot, Harvard’s Board of Governors are garbage. Glad I have not given any money to Harvard since the early 1980’s. The money I did give them I would like back. Fat chance.