Harvard’s Interim President Urges Campus Unity in Face of Unprecedented Tension

Amid the recent resignation of former university President Claudine Gay, Harvard’s interim president, Alan Garber, is urging the university community to come together during what he calls the most tense period on campus in the past 50 years. Writing in a letter addressed to Harvard community members, Garber, who previously served as provost before assuming Gay’s role, emphasized the need to address issues such as antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other biases, while also protecting free expression and promoting mutual understanding.

Gay, who made history as the first Black woman to lead Harvard, resigned following allegations of plagiarism raised by conservative activists. These accusations came after she faced significant backlash for her comments about antisemitism during a congressional hearing that lasted over five hours on December 5. When questioned about whether calls for the genocide of Jews would violate Harvard’s rules against bullying and harassment, Gay responded that it would depend on the “context.”

In an op-ed published in The New York Times after her resignation, Gay admitted to falling into a trap during the hearing and failing to clearly articulate her stance against genocide. She acknowledged that such calls are abhorrent and unacceptable and promised to use all available resources to protect students from hate. Garber praised Gay’s unwavering belief in Harvard’s community, but stressed the importance of healing the divisions that have weakened their sense of unity. He acknowledged that overcoming the challenges ahead will not be easy, especially with the ongoing scrutiny, but urged everyone to rise to the occasion.

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