Claudine Gay’s Resignation Letter

by Gary Fouse

This week, Claudine Gay finally stepped down as president of Harvard after the shortest tenure in the school’s history (6 months). She will stay on at Harvard as faculty, and no doubt she will become a martyr to the Woke left. We can also expect numerous speaking appearances and a book (only her 4th). None of that can change the fact that she leaves in disgrace after her testimony before Congress that left the impression that she and her institution were indifferent to campus calls for death to Jews, her mounting accusations of plagiarism, and a scanty publishing resume that poses the question: Why was she hired in the first place?

Gay’s resignation letter only adds more fuel to the fire. It is full of feel-good platitudes to the future success of Harvard, but contains no apologies for her testimony, no apologies for what Jewish students have been subjected to at Harvard (not even a mention of that), no apologies for the embarrassment she caused Harvard, no real reference to the plagiarism charges, and adds insult to injury by introducing the race card with this statement:

 “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.”

Not surprisingly, those words gave ammunition to race hustlers like Al Sharpton who has blamed the resignation on the fact that Gay is a black woman (which had nothing to do with the reasons she is no longer president of Harvard.) Indeed, one of her principal accusers of plagiarism is Dr Carol Swain, former professor at Vanderbilt University-herself black- from whom Gay lifted many of her passages.

In academia, plagiarism is considered one of the mortal sins. As has been pointed out by many commentators in the past few days, any student found guilty of plagiarism can expect nothing short of a full expulsion. Why should the standards be any different for the president of Harvard? To that end, I question why she is being retained as faculty.

It has also been revealed that Gay’s publishing resume is shockingly sparse. One of the most important parts of an academic resume is how many books and journal articles one has published. In her entire academic career, Gay has published three books and by varying accounts that I have seen and heard, 11 or 17 articles. That’s it. Just to illustrate how unimpressive that is for an academic, I have published 3 academic books and have 1 journal article to my credit-and I don’t even have a PhD. (I certainly don’t expect any job offers from Harvard in the coming days.)

Up until a few years ago, Harvard was generally considered America’s most prestigious university. The antics of the pro-Palestinian activists on campus and the anti-Semitism should have put that to rest. It wasn’t too many years ago, we were learning how Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren had used her very questionable identity as part Native American to land a teaching gig at Harvard. That identity was heralded by Harvard itself to show the world how cutting edge they were in minority hiring. Warren likely has no more Native American blood than General George Armstrong Custer.

And then there was a young man by the name of Osama Shabaik, one of the so-called “Irvine 11,” Muslim Student Union members who disrupted the speech of Michael Oren (then-Israeli ambassador to the US) at UC Irvine in 2010 and was convicted of a misdemeanor for that disruption. As I have previously written, he returned to UCI 3 years later as a law student at Harvard and told his audience (I was present) that he was told by the Harvard Law School dean that he (the dean) had read on Shabaik’s application that he was a member of the “Irvine 11”. The implication Shabaik left with the audience was that this had possibly played a positive role in his acceptance at Harvard Law.

But all this is secondary. The real damage is the harassment that Harvard’s Jewish students have been subjected to by the pro-Palestinian goons and goonettes on campus. To be sure, Harvard is not alone in this regard. It is a problem that has been going on for at least two decades in universities all over the country. It needs to be stopped now. If that means the forced resignation or firing of more university presidents and chancellors, so be it. If that means that universities see their enrollment, donations, and public funding dry up, so be it. The Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights has opened several new investigations into campuses that are hotbeds of anti-Semitism. A handful of universities, after years of inaction, have suspended the Students for Justice in Palestine chapters on their campuses. We need to see more of that. Free speech is one thing, but bullying and disruptions are quite another.