Posted on January 2, 2024

Harvard President Resigns After Plagiarism Allegations

Melissa Korn and Douglas Belkin, Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2023

Harvard University President Claudine Gay has resigned after facing mounting criticism over how she responded to antisemitism on campus and, most recently, allegations that she plagiarized the work of other researchers on multiple occasions.

Gay said in a message to the Harvard community Tuesday afternoon that she would step down “with a heavy heart but deep love for Harvard,” and that the decision was “difficult beyond words.” She said she would return to the faculty.


Gay, a professor of government and of African and African American studies, became president in July after serving as dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences for around five years. She had been under pressure for weeks regarding her initial responses to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. Her remarks at a House committee hearing on the matter in early December drew widespread criticism after she gave an equivocal response to a question about whether calls for the genocide of Jewish people violated the campus code of conduct.

“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,” Gay wrote in her resignation letter to the Harvard community.

Gay was accused of plagiarizing other academics in dozens of instances in several published academic papers and her Ph.D. dissertation. The Harvard Corporation, the university’s top governing board, said in December that reviews of her work uncovered some instances of “inadequate citation,” but that the omissions didn’t meet the bar of outright research misconduct.

Gay has requested four corrections on two academic papers and is updating her dissertation in three spots, according to the school.


Gay’s resignation comes three weeks after the university’s governing board issued a statement backing the president. {snip}

The board said Tuesday that it accepted her resignation “with sorrow,” and commended her for withstanding the recent furor.