““The campaign against me involved more than one university and one leader. This was just one skirmish in a broader war to undermine public confidence in the foundations of American society.“
Those are the words of Claudine Guy, who on Tuesday announced her resignation as president of Harvard University, in a New York Times op-ed published on Wednesday.
In her op-ed, Gay warned against bad-faith efforts to delegitimize American institutions, and said she resigned “to deny demagogues the opportunity to use my presidency as a weapon in their campaign to undermine the ideals that have animated Harvard since its founding: excellence and openness.” Independence, truth.”
Gay faced allegations of plagiarism and was criticized for her testimony at a congressional hearing in which she provided unsatisfactory answers to questions about whether calls for “genocide of the Jews” violated Harvard's code of conduct.
Last July, Jay became the first black president of Harvard University, and only its second female president.
In the op-ed, Gay acknowledged that she had made mistakes, but defended her academic record and research, saying she had fallen into an “elaborate trap” in the congressional hearing.
After being targeted by conservative activists, Gay said she faced attacks on her character and intelligence, death threats, and “been called the F-word more times than I care to count.”
She warned that she would not be the last target.
“Trusted institutions of all kinds — from public health agencies to news organizations — will continue to fall victim to coordinated attempts to undermine their legitimacy and destroy the credibility of their leaders,” Jay wrote. “For the opportunists who cynicize our institutions, no single victory or ousted leader saps their enthusiasm.”
In conclusion, she urged universities to fight to maintain their independence in the face of “the loudest and most extreme voices in our culture.”
“Our nation’s college campuses must remain places where students can learn, share, and grow together, not spaces where proxy battles and political competition take root,” she said.