Harvard President Insists Antisemitism Comments Were Taken Out Of Context
"During these difficult days, I have felt the bonds of our community strain," Gay said.
Harvard President Dr. Claudine Gay feels her comments made during the Capitol Hill hearing were misunderstood.
Gay, along with the presidents of University of Pennsylvania and MIT, testified on Capitol Hill regarding antisemitism on college campuses on Dec. 5. During her opening remarks, she acknowledged Harvard’s fight against antisemitism while allowing free speech.
“During these difficult days, I have felt the bonds of our community strain,” Gay said.
“In response, I’ve sought to confront hate while preserving free expression. This is difficult work. And I know that I have not always gotten it right.”
All three leaders received backlash for claiming that calling for the genocide of Jews does not violate their codes of conduct. Gay said her words were misunderstood entirely. In a statement, she said she wanted people to know that violence has no place at Harvard.
“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students,” she wrote. “Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community or any religious or ethnic group are vile; they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.”
The damage may already be done, however. Both the White House and Harvard alumni are upset by her words. Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates called the leaders’ viewpoints “dangerous and revolting.”
“It’s unbelievable that this needs to be said: calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country,” Bates said. “Any statements that advocate for the systematic murder of Jews are dangerous and revolting – and we should all stand firmly against them, on the side of human dignity and the most basic values that unite us as Americans.”
Alumni of the prestigious institution are calling for Gay, the first Black president of the school, to resign. According to The Boston Herald, Sen. Elise Stefanik and billionaire Bill Ackman say, “She has to go.”
Billionaire hedge fund manager Ackman has been highly critical of Gay ever since she was hired, claiming she was only hired because of DEI criteria.
“I learned from someone with first-person knowledge of the Harvard president search that the committee would not consider a candidate who did not meet the DEI office’s criteria,” he wrote in a lengthy Twitter post.
“Shrinking the pool of candidates based on required race, gender and/or sexual orientation criteria is not the right approach to identifying the best leaders for our most prestigious universities.”