NAS on the Harvard President's Resignation

National Association of Scholars

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) welcomes the decision by Claudine Gay to resign the presidency of Harvard University. We also welcome the Harvard Corporation’s role in assenting to this resignation. Their decisions serve the ideals and the interests of Harvard University, and of American higher education in general.

NAS called for Gay’s resignation on December 11. That statement cited:

  • Her inability to give a clear answer to questions about what Harvard could or would do in response to calls for genocide against Jews.
  • Her shoddy professional work, which would by normal standards disqualify her for any academic appointment at Harvard.
  • Her record of plagiarism.
  • Her promotion of racist policies.
  • Her vindictive and arbitrary administrative punishment of Harvard college members.

The immediate cause of Gay’s resignation is the revelation of her substantial plagiarism in her academic work. The cause-behind-the-cause was her inability to speak or act forcefully to prevent anti-Semitic intimidation at Harvard following the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, 2023. But any of these five issues were sufficient reason for Gay to resign.

The larger issue is Harvard’s “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) policies, and the ideology underlying it, which has captured far too much of Harvard and higher education. DEI made possible Gay’s hiring and promotion at Harvard, despite a clearly inadequate publication record; Gay has promoted DEI policies throughout her administrative tenure at Harvard; and Gay’s arbitrary enforcement of DEI principles made apparent that DEI in practice is a crude political weapon to suppress dissent and enforce conformity to a racist ideology that glorifies violence.

Gay’s resignation cannot be an end to the matter. DEI ideology and policies made her president, and DEI ideology and policies have laced Harvard with hundreds of Claudine Gays. Tens of thousands of DEI ideologues and beneficiaries—frequently overlapping categories—permeate higher education as a whole. These too must be removed from positions of authority and power if American higher education once again is to dedicate itself to equal opportunity, intellectual curiosity, honest debate, and the search for truth.

We have stated already that Harvard Corporation should reform itself. This is more urgent than ever, as Harvard seeks a new president. The members who chose Gay as president displayed poor judgment. We urge them to recruit new members, who champion values that allow for freedom of inquiry and who know that DEI must be removed from Harvard for those values to thrive. We also urge those members who chose Gay as president to consider whether they would best serve Harvard University by resigning from the Corporation. A greatly reformed Harvard Corporation should choose a president who will work forthwith to free Harvard of DEI.

We call on college and university Boards of Trustees throughout America to end their commitments to DEI and to entrust the institutions for which they are responsible to presidents who will work swiftly and vigorously to cleanse our ivory towers of the blight of DEI.

Photo by Adobe Stock

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