Hundreds of Harvard Faculty Signal Support for President Amid Cries to Fire Her

Hundreds of Harvard Faculty Signal Support for President Amid Cries to Fire Her

( – The October 7 attack on Israel that left approximately 1,400 people dead reverberated across the world. In the US, a debate over anti-Semitism at all levels of society is raging. The presidents of three top schools recently testified before Congress about anti-Semitism on campus, and the fallout has been rough. But the board and staff of one of the universities are standing firmly behind their leader.

On December 5, Harvard President Claudine Gay joined University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill and MIT President Sally Kornbluth to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Gay, who was appointed Harvard’s first black president in July, faced criticism from donors and alumni for allegedly not being forceful enough while condemning anti-Semitism during her testimony.

A week after the testimony, on December 11, over 700 Harvard faculty members signed a petition supporting Gay. Newscenter 5 obtained a copy of the letter. It called on the university to “resist political pressures […] including calls for the removal of” the school president. Ryan Enos, a professor at the university, pointed out that the faculty and students are the ones who decide who the president is, “not the billionaire people on Twitter.”

Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, released a statement the same day reaffirming its support for Gay. They said she is “the right leader to help [the] community heal” and to deal with the other problems facing the university. The statement went on to say Gay “apologized for how she handled her congressional testimony” and promised to redouble the school’s efforts to fight anti-Semitism.

UPenn President Elizabeth Magill wasn’t quite as lucky as Gay. She tried to apologize after her testimony, but it wasn’t good enough. On Saturday, December 9, she resigned from her position. The university board’s chairman, Scott L. Bok, who also resigned, informed the Penn community that Magill left voluntarily.

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