Over 500 Harvard Faculty Sign Letter Defending Claudine Gay Amid Calls For Removal Over Congressional Testimony

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Over 500 Harvard University faculty members signed a letter Sunday following a scheduled meeting of the Harvard Corporation, calling on the board not to remove Harvard President Claudine Gay from her position, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Gay spoke at a hearing on Dec. 5 alongside other elite university presidents and dodged questions about genocidal anti-Jewish chants, refusing to say if they violated the university’s code of conduct, which led to a massive uproar and calls for her resignation. Following the hearing, Gay apologized publicly for her remarks, and some Harvard faculty called for Gay not to be fired, citing “a culture of free inquiry,” according to the Harvard Crimson. (RELATED: Ivy League Presidents Invoked Free Speech To Defend Anti-Jewish Protests. Here’s How They’ve Treated Conservatives)

In their letter to the Corporation, they urged it “in the strongest possible terms to defend the independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom, including calls for the removal of President Claudine Gay.”

Harvard University President Claudine Gay at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing Dec. 5 2023. [Screenshot – YouTube – House Committee on Education and the Workforce]

“The critical work of defending a culture of free inquiry in our diverse community cannot proceed if we let its shape be dictated by outside forces,” they continued.

Sources familiar with the debate over Gay’s position at the university said there was disagreement between some on the Corporation’s board, as some viewed Gay’s testimony as a mishandling of the hearing and others expressed a desire to not allow Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who asked the pointed question about genocidal rhetoric, to force Gay’s removal, according to The New York Times.

“I don’t think that signing this letter is an exoneration of the University for its handling of issues involving antisemitism and Islamophobia over the last couple of months,” Jewish History professor Derek J. Penslar, a member of a group of faculty who spearheaded the letter, told The Harvard Crimson.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce opened an investigation into the “learning environments, policies, and disciplinary procedures” of University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) following the testimony of their presidents before Congress. UPenn President Liz Magill later backtracked on her similar remarks at the hearing, but Magill ultimately resigned, as did the chair of UPenn’s board of trustees Scott Bok.

Harvard did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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