Harvard president Claudine Gay lights a MENORAH on campus

Harvard president Claudine Gay lights a MENORAH on campus a day after surviving demands she be removed for failing to call anti-Semitism harassment during her disastrous Congressional testimony

  • Claudine Gay attended a campus menorah lighting on Wednesday night
  • The daily lighting ceremony was organized by the Harvard Chabad
  • Gay has been battling to keep her job after last week’s Congressional hearing 

Harvard’s embattled president Claudine Gay attended a university menorah lighting ceremony on Wednesday, as she continues to resist calls to resign over campus antisemitism. 

Gay was one of around 100 people who attended the daily lighting ceremony at Harvard Park, organized by the Harvard Chabad. 

Her appearance came the day after Harvard Corporation, which governs the university, announced they wanted her to stay on as president – despite her December 5 testimony before Congress.

Gay was one of three university presidents called before the House Education Committee to discuss antisemitism on campuses. All three equivocated when asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews counted as hate speech: one of the three, the University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill, has since been forced to resign.

But Gay has been told that the university leadership still supports her, in the face of calls for her to resign. 

Claudine Gay, the president of Harvard, is seen on Wednesday night lighting the menorah on campus

Gay is seen on December 5 testifying before Congress, seated next to Liz Magill – the UPenn president. Magill was forced to resign four days after their appearance before the committee

On Tuesday, a university-wide email was sent out by the 11-member board announcing that they ‘unanimously stand in support of President Gay.’ 

They said their decision was reached after ‘extensive deliberations.’ 

Over the weekend, hundreds of faculty members rallied to Gay’s support, insisting she retained their full confidence and condemning outside pressure for her to step down. 

Elise Stefanik, the New York Republican who led the questioning of Gay and the two others, had tweeted after Magill’s resignation: ‘One down, two to go’ – remarks that for many created the sense that the presidents were becoming political pawns.

Gay on Tuesday issued a statement to The Harvard Crimson newspaper, saying she felt there was work to be done on antisemitism, and pledging to review all policies. 

‘The work ahead is formidable but clear — to rid our community of hate, to make sure our students are and feel safe, and to preserve free expression on our campus,’ Gay wrote. ‘I’m confident we can succeed.’

Gay is seen on Wednesday night at the Jewish celebration on campus

Gay was one of around 100 people attending the ceremony on Wednesday night

Gay said that she wanted to work with her critics to try and stamp out antisemitism on campus.

‘I know there are people of goodwill and deep love for Harvard who are ambivalent or even disappointed about where we are right now,’ Gay wrote.  

‘I will need their help and their ideas to build the community we all deserve. And I ask for it.

‘I hope through my actions and through our community’s steady progress in the weeks, months and years ahead, Harvard will remain a source of pride and inspiration in all of our lives,’ she added.

A person wrapped in the flag of Israel is seen on Wednesday attending the Harvard ceremony

The menorah lighting takes place in Harvard Yard on Wednesday night

Gay, UPenn’s Liz Magill and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth were summoned before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce last week by lawmakers concerned by reports of a rise in antisemitism at leading universities.

They faced heated questioning from committee chair Stefanik but failed to assert that calls for genocide against Jews on campus would definitively constitute harassment.

‘This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most ‘prestigious’ higher education institutions in America,’ Stefanik wrote on Saturday evening.

Adding: ‘Harvard and MIT, do the right thing. The world is watching.’

Gay apologized for her remarks as the backlash intensified, telling college newspaper The Crimson she ‘got caught up in what had become at that point, an extended, combative exchange about policies and procedures.’

‘What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community – threats to our Jewish students – have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,’ she added.

UPenn’s Magill resigning from her role along with chair of the UPenn board of trustees, Scott Bok. Bok’s Vice Chair, Julie Beren Platt, has been named interim chair of the board.

In a statement issued Saturday evening Magill wrote: ‘It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution.

‘It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions.’

In his own resignation statement Bok defended Magill as a ‘good person’ who is ‘not the slightest bit anti-Semitic’ but had made a ‘misstep’ after ‘months of relentless external attacks.’

Source: Read Full Article