Claudine Gay says she fell ‘victim to well-laid trap’ that ended Harvard presidency

Former Harvard president Claudine Gay claims she fell victim to a “well-laid trap” that led to the end of her short-lived historic time at the helm of the prestigious university.

The 53-year-old resigned Tuesday after weeks of controversy over her handling of on-campus antisemitism after Hamas’ shock attack on Israel and accusations of plagiarism in her academic work plagued her.

“Yes, I made mistakes. In my initial response to the atrocities of Oct. 7, I should have stated more forcefully what all people of good conscience know: Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks to eradicate the Jewish state,” Gay wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times Wednesday.

“And at a congressional hearing last month, I fell into a well-laid trap. I neglected to clearly articulate that calls for the genocide of Jewish people are abhorrent and unacceptable and that I would use every tool at my disposal to protect students from that kind of hate.”

Demands for Gay’s resignation began in the fall, when she would not condemn more than 30 Harvard student groups that published a letter holding Israel “entirely responsible” for Hamas’ terror attack.

The former Harvard president, 53, resigned from the prestigious Ivy League Tuesday after weeks of controversy over her campus politics and academic record plagued her. David McGlynn
Gay said she had fallen into a “well-laid trap” at her congressional hearing, which she was prepared by top Harvard people for, that would eventually lead to her resignation. REUTERS

Calls for her to step down ramped up after dozens of allegations about plagiarism in her work surfaced following her disastrous testimony before Congress on Dec. 5, where she refused to say that anyone calling for the genocide of Jews at Harvard would be punished.

“Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate your university’s code of conduct on bullying or harassment?” New York Rep. Elise Stefanik asked Gay at the hearing.

“It depends on the context,” the academic replied.

“Never did I imagine needing to defend decades-old and broadly respected research, but the past several weeks have laid waste to truth. Those who had relentlessly campaigned to oust me since the fall often trafficked in lies and ad hominem insults, not reasoned argument,” she wrote. ” They recycled tired racial stereotypes about Black talent and temperament. They pushed a false narrative of indifference and incompetence.

“It is not lost on me that I make an ideal canvas for projecting every anxiety about the generational and demographic changes unfolding on American campuses: a Black woman selected to lead a storied institution,” she continued.

Stefanik on Wednesday blasted Gay’s Times essay.

“This was not a ‘well-laid trap’ (to properly cite the disgraced @Harvard former president Claudine Gay),” she wrote on X.

New York Congresswoman, Elise Stefanik, who had questioned Gay at the hearing, still wasn’t happy with Gay’s response Wednesday. She took to X to call out the former Harvard president op-ed, saying it was not a “well-laid trap,” but “the university president’s cataclysmic failure on the global stage.” CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

“Contrary to their attempts to distract and assign responsibility elsewhere, everyone knows this was not a ‘well-laid trap’ as one disgraced former university president desperately claimed,” the Republican continued.

“It wasn’t a trap. It was the university president’s cataclysmic failure on the global stage to answer a straightforward moral question. Good riddance.”

While under Gay’s tenure, a Jewish student had been surrounded by pro-Palestinian supporters who yelled “shame” at him while he was walking to class, and the campus saw a doxxing truck drive through with students faces on it who blamed Israel for Hamas attack.

Gay again faced backlash after plagiarism claims plagued her 1997 Ph.D. thesis, where two journalists said she stole numerous portions of her thesis, which would directly violate Harvard’s academic integrity policy.

Documents obtained by journalists Christopher Rufo and Chris Brunet posted on X compared Gay’s paper with earlier works of other authors and academic scholars, showing that some passages are nearly replicated.

Under Gay’s tenure, a Jewish student was surrounded by pro-Palestinian supporters who yelled “shame” as he walked to class and a doxxing truck showing faces of students who blamed Israel for the Hamas attack drove through campus. CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Gay blew off the accusations in her op-ed.

“I believe all scholars deserve full and appropriate credit for their work. When I learned of these errors, I promptly requested corrections from the journals in which the flagged articles were published, consistent with how I have seen similar faculty cases handled at Harvard,” she wrote.

“I have never misrepresented my research findings, nor have I ever claimed credit for the research of others. Moreover, the citation errors should not obscure a fundamental truth: I proudly stand by my work and its impact on the field,” she added.

The former Harvard leader also issued a warning about “self-serving agendas.”

“At tense moments, every one of us must be more skeptical than ever of the loudest and most extreme voices in our culture, however well organized or well connected they might be. Too often they are pursuing self-serving agendas that should be met with more questions and less credulity,” she wrote.

“College campuses in our country must remain places where students can learn, share and grow together, not spaces where proxy battles and political grandstanding take root. Universities must remain independent venues where courage and reason unite to advance truth, no matter what forces set against them.”

Gay had the shortest tenure as president at Harvard, serving just six months and one day. She was the first black leader at the nation’s most prestigious university.


Written by SaleemBaloch

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