Several liberal college professors seized on the news of Harvard President Claudine Gay’s resignation by jumping on social media and defending Gay despite her comments on antisemitism and almost 50 accusations of plagiarism.
After facing dozens of allegations of plagiarism, Gay released a letter to members of the Harvard community Tuesday saying she was stepping down as president but will return to the Harvard faculty, where she could likely keep her $900K salary.
“It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career,” Gay wrote. “My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis.”
“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,” she continued.
After ther announced resignation, several college professors took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to defend Gay and accused her critics of being “racist mobs” and “fascist mouth-breathers.”
“Racist mobs won’t stop until they topple all Black people from positions of power and influence who are not reinforcing the structure of racism,” Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi posted on X. “What these racist mobs are doing should be obvious to any reporter who cares about truth or justice as opposed to conflicts and clicks.”
In a community note on the post, X wrote, “Claudine Gay was accused among other things of lifting nearly half a page of material verbatim from David Cannon’s 1999 book ‘Race Redistricting and Representation: The Unintended Consequences of Black Majority Districts.’”
Kendi wrote in another post, “The question is whether all these people would have investigated, surveilled, harassed, written about, and attacked her in the same way if the Harvard president in this case would have been White. I. Think. Not.”
“Everyone gets a take on this: Harvard is a ‘public’ institution in that sense,” Princeton professor Arthur Spirling wrote on X. “The tragedy here is how extraordinarily easy this all was for the cultural warriors. Unforced error in Congress, then social media + plagiarism detection software did the rest. Disaster.”
“Harvard has a $50 billion endowment – more than the GDP of Latvia – and they still let a bunch of fascist mouth-breathers bully their president into resigning,” Tulane professor Stan Oklobdzija posted on X. “Congratulations to American universities on winning the 2024 Neville Chamberlain Award for Excellence in Capitulation.”
“She definitely did not deserve this,” Georgetown assistant professor Amanda Sahar d’Urso wrote on X. “I hope she can live her life in peace, for the sake of her mental and emotional well-being.”
“For the rest of us, this is a load of crap garbage and we should be really concerned.”
Dartmouth assistant professor Roopika Risam wrote on X, “Oh Harvard. FFS. I am just absolutely livid that President Gay is resigning. They were always going to come for the leader who’s a brilliant Black woman.”
“The intimidation is the point,” Duke University adjunct professor Eric Deggans posted on X. “Will the next president at Harvard stand for diversity? Will that person be female? Will that person be Black? If not, they have forced several steps back. And everyone across the school gets the message.”
Gay’s resignation sparked a social media firestorm on Tuesday when she stepped down as president, making her tenure the shortest in university history.
Gay testified before Congress following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and struggled to answer a direct question from New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Harvard alum, condemning genocide against Jewish people as something that violated Harvard’s code of conduct.
Calls for her resignation grew in the following weeks after dozens of plagiarism allegations, first reported on by The Washington Free Beacon, were unearthed, including this claim: “In a 2001 article, Gay lifts nearly half a page of material verbatim from another scholar, David Canon, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin.”
The total number of plagiarism allegations against Gay is near 50, or “half of Gay’s published works,” according to the Free Beacon.