Pressure from Obama fails to save embattled Harvard president Claudine Gay

 January 3, 2024

Despite support from Barack Obama, Harvard's embattled, woke president, Claudine Gay, has finally been sacked - in a rare example of accountability for powerful bureaucrats protected by affirmative action. 

It's a dramatic climax to a controversy over anti-Semitism and academic integrity that embarrassed Harvard, deepened divisions on the left and tested the power of the "diversity, equity, and inclusion" racket, which kept Gay in her position for weeks despite withering scrutiny of her resume.

Claudine Gay resigns...

The first black president of the prestigious school, Gay ended up staying six months on the job - the shortest tenure in Harvard's history.

Gay landed Harvard in hot water in December after failing to clearly condemn calls for the genocide of Jews during a congressional hearing on campus protests against Israel's war with Hamas.

Gay's equivocal response was widely condemned and plunged Harvard into a major scandal. The presidents of MIT and UPenn also faced backlash; the latter promptly resigned.

Obama, a Harvard grad with ties to the university's governing board, reportedly lobbied for Gay behind the scenes as the scandal escalated.

But Gay's position grew more precarious as her academic record came under close scrutiny - and it became clear that her resume was lightweight and riddled with plagiarism.

Still, Harvard announced that she would keep her job - a development that was widely attributed to political pressures and Gay's status as the first black president of the university.

In a stunning development, Gay announced her resignation Tuesday - blaming "racial animus" rather than her personal shortcomings.

"It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor," she said.

Lessons learned?

The news was celebrated by those who campaigned for her ouster, such as the prominent conservative journalist Christopher Rufio, New York's Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik, billionaire Bill Ackman, and conservative political scientist Carol Swain, whose work Gay plagiarized.

Gay's ouster has also led to furious backlash from progressives at Harvard and beyond, who are calling Gay a victim of weaponized racism against a well-qualified black woman.

It's not a total loss for Gay, who will hold onto her $900,000 (yes, you read that right) job as a tenured professor.

Gay doubled down with an essay in the New York Times casting herself as the victim of "obsessive scrutiny" of her academic record. She called her ouster just one "skirmish" in a "broader war" to sow doubt in America's elite institutions.

It's clear that no lessons have been learned for Claudine Gay. The question is whether her ouster signals a broader change, or if society will continue to reward charlatans like Gay on the basis of skin color.

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