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Editorials

Dissent: For Harvard’s Sake, It’s Time to Let Gay Go

Gay took the stage at her inaguration ceremony less than six months ago.
Gay took the stage at her inaguration ceremony less than six months ago. By Frank S. Zhou
By Brooks B. Anderson and Joshua A. Kaplan, Crimson Opinion Writers
Dissenting Opinions: Occasionally, The Crimson Editorial Board is divided about the opinion we express in a staff editorial. In these cases, dissenting board members have the opportunity to express their opposition to staff opinion.

University President Claudine Gay should resign.

It has been less than half a year since Gay assumed one of the most prestigious posts in all of academia. Since then, scandal after scandal has plagued our beloved university.

The president of Harvard must be a formidable leader, capable of managing thousands of the brightest minds on the planet, a widely revered international brand, and a multi-billion-dollar bureaucratic behemoth. Further, by way of its field-leading eminences, Harvard exerts influence — and encounters controversy — at the highest levels of politics and policymaking, which often presents challenges for its leader and public face.

In other words, Harvard’s presidency is no mere empty honor; it is a deeply challenging managerial job with deeply challenging duties, not least of which is navigating national outcry.

In each of these respects, Gay has failed. The Harvard Corporation must find a leader who can do better.

Our doubts began in the wake of Hamas’ attacks on Oct. 7. Without question, Gay botched her public response to the crisis. She sent out-of-touch email after out-of-touch email to the student body, which totalled five in the end. She bungled her testimony before Congress, to international criticism. Now, on top of these blunders, it has surfaced that Gay plagiarized portions of multiple academic papers. The situation seems to worsen with every passing week.

Still, the Editorial Board today makes peace with Gay’s series of slip-ups, opposing her resignation even after dozens of allegations of academic misconduct, including, bafflingly, two sentences in the acknowledgements of her dissertation.

Because our peers avoid reckoning with the severity of Gay’s failures, dismissing instances of explicit plagiarism as insufficient to warrant her resignation, we respectfully dissent.

One doesn’t need to look far to see that Harvard isn’t running smoothly — these scandals disrupt teaching and research, Harvard’s core missions.

As students, we are exhausted.

We are tired of reading about Harvard’s failures every time we check the news. We are sick of reporters hassling us for interviews in the Yard. We don’t want to return home for break and get pestered by friends and family, asking what is happening on campus or how we’re holding up in this awful environment. Our classes and our studying should not be interrupted by noisemakers and megaphones. Signing an affirmation that we will follow the Harvard College Honor Code before we take our final exams should not feel like a farce.

Students are not the only ones frustrated. Faculty are concerned with her academic misconduct too, though many refuse to go on the record, perhaps for fear of the consequences (a fact the Board’s opinion notes but seems not to take to heart).

Donors are tripping over each other to sever ties with the University. A senator has written in the Wall Street Journal that he was accosted in Widener Library. Congress has launchedand now expanded — an investigation into Harvard. Early application numbers have dropped sharply compared with peer institutions, perhaps in response to the turmoil.

President Gay may be a good person. She may even be a praiseworthy scholar, despite the allegations. But that isn’t enough to remain president. The leader of the world’s foremost university must be held to a higher standard, one that Gay has unfortunately failed to meet.

It is clear to us that the continuation of Gay’s tenure as president only hurts the University. For Harvard’s sake, Gay must go.

Brooks B. Anderson ’25, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Government concentrator in Pforzheimer House. Joshua A. Kaplan ’26, a Crimson Editorial editor, is a Computer Science concentrator in Currier House.

Dissenting Opinions: Occasionally, The Crimson Editorial Board is divided about the opinion we express in a staff editorial. In these cases, dissenting board members have the opportunity to express their opposition to staff opinion.

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