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Will Harvard’s Head Hang On?

Will Harvard’s Head Hang On?

Last week, Intellectual Takeout reported on the jaw-dropping Capitol Hill testimony of MIT President Sally Kornbluth, UPenn President Liz Magill, and Harvard President Claudine Gay. In turn, each leader affirmed—bizarrely—that calls for genocide against Jews did not violate their schools’ harassment policies unless those calls were severe, directed at individuals, or crossed over into conduct.

Their remarks outraged enough influential Americans that one scalp has already been claimed: Dr. Magill has been forced to resign from her post at UPenn.

While Dr. Kornbluth’s position at MIT still appears safe, a storm cloud of speculation now surrounds Harvard head Dr. Gay, all the more so following revelations that Gay’s Ph.D. dissertation and other research papers are riddled with plagiarism that defies Harvard’s own policies on academic integrity.

Independent journalist Christopher Rufo, who has spearheaded the plagiarism investigations, tweeted Wednesday: “In her entire career, Harvard president published only eleven scholarly papers. Five of them contain plagiarized material. This is the most significant academic scandal of the modern era.”

Rufo later called out Gay for her hypocrisy, revealing: “As dean, Claudine Gay expelled student[s] for plagiarism, while hiding the fact that she herself had plagiarized at least five academic papers. This is untenable. Everyone on campus knows it.”

Twisting the screws, Rufo added, “As long as she remains Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay will walk into every meeting knowing that everyone else knows she is a serial plagiarist, middling scholar, and DEI totem who dealt billions of dollars in damage to the institution, but was too selfish to resign.”

The plagiarism scandal even has the woke campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, reporting that the Harvard Corporation, the school’s most powerful governing board, has cast into doubt “whether [Gay’s] tenure will be safe in the long term.”

For now, the Harvard Corporation has offered its endorsement of Dr. Gay, writing in a statement published Wednesday, “In this tumultuous and difficult time, we unanimously stand in support of President Gay.”

However, it is a stance the school’s leadership may come to regret as Harvard’s good name continues to sour on the national stage. Already, billionaire Harvard alum Bill Ackman has been an outspoken critic of Harvard’s plunge into the DEI abyss in general and Dr. Gay’s appointment as president in particular. In an open letter he penned to the Harvard Governing Boards, Ackman warned:

President Gay’s failures have led to billions of dollars of cancelled, paused, and withdrawn donations to the university. I am personally aware of more than a billion dollars of terminated donations from a small group of Harvard’s most generous Jewish and non-Jewish alumni.

In his letter, Ackman accused Gay of doing “more damage to the reputation of Harvard University than any individual in our nearly 500-year history.”

“President Gay catalyzed an explosion of antisemitism and hate on campus that is unprecedented in Harvard’s history,” Ackman wrote, adding that her leadership has “led to the metastasis of antisemitism to other universities and institutions around the world.”

Another to stridently criticize Harvard in recent weeks is political commentator Andrew Sullivan, who has been unafraid to identify the school’s woke infestation as unabashed neo-Marxism. Warning of its spread to other Ivy League institutions, Sullivan explains how wokeness has sponsored the antisemitism that has now dominated national headlines for weeks:

If a member of an oppressor class says something edgy, it is a form of violence. If a member of an oppressed class commits actual violence, it’s speech. That’s why many Harvard students instantly supported a fundamentalist terror cult that killed, tortured, systematically raped and kidnapped Jews just for being Jews in their own country…

It would be wrong to see this as a function merely of old-school anti-Semitism. The new anti-Semitism is simply a subsidiary of the entire rubric of ‘anti-Whiteness’ that is taught as the supreme principle of ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.’ DEI does not mean and has never meant diversity, equity and inclusion for all. It means active support for the ‘oppressed’ against the ‘oppressors.’

With this in mind, it is doubtful that Dr. Gay will be removed for fomenting a climate of antisemitism on campus.

As Ben Shapiro tweeted earlier this week: “Liz Magill could be safely defenestrated as a fig leaf to donors. She’s a white lady and thus has no intersectional status that might threaten the DEI hierarchy. Claudine Gay was appointed based on DEI credentials to represent the DEI system. She is unfireable.”

I would add only one caveat: The plagiarism revelations, being unrelated to the DEI and antisemitism controversy, does provide Harvard’s leadership with an easy justification for letting her go.

And for Harvard’s reputation over the long term, that is a decision they should make sooner rather than later.

Image credit: Pexels

Kurt Mahlburg
Kurt Mahlburg

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