It is now clear that former Harvard President Claudine Gay is a racist, a plagiarist, and profoundly dishonest.
It is now clear that former Harvard President Claudine Gay is a racist, a plagiarist, and profoundly dishonest. She proved it in the New York Times this week.
After Gay’s self-serving and stunningly deceitful New York Times column “What Just Happened at Harvard Is Bigger Than Me,” I could not resist commenting on the self-delusion and arrogance she exhibited.
Her description of the House committee hearing which started her troubles was astonishingly false. She asserted, “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.”
If you watch the five-and-a-half minute video of Rep. Elise Stefanik (a Harvard graduate herself) grilling Gay, you know that Gay did not simply “neglect” to condemn calls for genocide. She bobbed and weaved Stefanik’s clear questions while repeating a series of vague phrases her public relations consultants likely fed her. She apparently thought the script would get her through the hearing without infuriating the hard left antisemites whose emotional energy and aggressiveness now dominate the Harvard campus (and a host of other elite schools).
Gay’s performance in that committee hearing was so tone deaf and lacking in moral judgement that millions of Americans concluded by the next morning that she simply had to resign.
The Harvard power structure, which hired Gay six months before, briefly rallied to defend her. But stories quickly began spreading that she repeatedly plagiarized other scholars in her academic work. As Gay described it in the New York Times, “My critics found instances in my academic writings where some material duplicated other scholars’ language, without proper attribution.”
Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work and words without proper attribution and acknowledgement. It’s cheating.
In another cheating scandal, the Harvard Crimson reported on Feb. 5, 2023 that 70 students had been made to withdraw from classes because roughly 1 percent of the student body had been cheating in a government class. According to the paper, a little more than half of those students were ultimately booted from the college.
Clearly, these students did not understand the “proper attribution” defense which Gay feebly used to shield herself from charges of plagiarism.
Finally, Gay had to wrap herself in the defense that any attack on her is racist. As she put it, her opponents, “recycled tired racial stereotypes about Black talent and temperament. They pushed a false narrative of indifference and incompetence.”
In her astonishingly egocentric and hubristic defense, she claimed:
“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. Someone who views diversity as a source of institutional strength and dynamism. Someone who has advocated a modern curriculum that spans from the frontier of quantum science to the long-neglected history of Asian Americans. Someone who believes that a daughter of Haitian immigrants has something to offer to the nation’s oldest university.”
I am confident she had no idea how ironic her closing line was. She argued that “Universities must remain independent venues where courage and reason unite to advance truth, no matter what forces set against them.”
Those are the right principles, but they are the opposite of the Harvard Gay was developing.
Her purported guiding principles were diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). However, this didn’t seem to apply to the Jewish students at Harvard who were being regularly harassed and threatened.
The inherent racism, indoctrination, and hostility to alternative thoughts and values means DEI really should be described as discrimination, exclusion, and intolerance. After all, this is what it morphs into in practice. It turned a blind eye to advocacy of genocide.
Gay’s depth of dishonesty and inability to grip reality is a strong reminder of how hard it is going to be to return the academic world to a culture of serious study, real openness, and genuine debate.
In one sense, Gay is right. What has been happening at Harvard and other institutions is bigger than all of us.
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