NewsHarvard Stands With Claudine Gay Amid Ring-Wing Criticism

Harvard Stands With Claudine Gay Amid Ring-Wing Criticism

The Harvard Corporation, formally known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, the most powerful of Harvard University’s two governing boards, signaled their trust in Gay

Amid Republican dissatisfaction with university presidents at some of the nation’s elite college institutions, Harvard faculty elected to stand with Harvard President Claudine Gay as she faced calls from lawmakers and university donors to vacate her position. The position from the Republican legislators is that somehow, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are among the factors for a spike in anti-semitism at the nation’s higher education institutions, including Harvard, Penn, and MIT.

According to Roll Call, several Republican lawmakers, including New York Republican Elise Stefanik, believe not enough is being done by Gay to curb anti-semitism and Stefanik has also called for Gay’s removal during the House Committee on Education and The Workforce hearings. 

The Harvard Corporation, formally known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, the most powerful of Harvard University’s two governing boards, signaled their trust in Gay following a Dec. 11 meeting.

“Our extensive deliberations affirm our confidence that President Gay is the right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing,” the Harvard Corporation announced.

Veritas is divine truth, moral truth. Let me be clear, Veritas does not depend on the context. This is a moral failure of @Harvard’s leadership.President Claudine Gay should have been fired.— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) December 12, 2023

Stefanik continued her criticism of Gay, writing in a post on Twitter/X, “There have been absolutely no updates to (Harvard’s) code of conduct to condemn the calls for genocide of Jews and protect Jewish students on campus,” Stefanik said. “The only update to Harvard’s code of conduct is to allow plagiarists as president.” 

No amount of PR “clean up” will undo the morally bankrupt endorsement Elise Stefanik delivered*last year*To Carl Paladino-who called Hitler “inspirational” and the “kind of leader we need today”@RepStefanik you want to combat antisemitismStart by looking in the mirror— Adam Cohen Lawyers for Good Government #DemCast (@axidentaliberal) December 9, 2023

Enough is enough. @Harvard President Claudine Gay is a distinguished scholar and professor with decades of service in higher education. The recent attacks on her leadership are nothing more than political theatrics advancing a white supremacist agenda.— Derrick Johnson (@DerrickNAACP) December 12, 2023

Stefanik’s loud criticisms of Gay have come into question, however, because of her association with Donald Trump, who has traded in his fair share of anti-semitic remarks. As The Hill reported, during an interview with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat, challenged Stefanik’s credibility, saying, “Where does Elise Stefanik get off lecturing anybody about antisemitism, when she’s the hugest supporter of Donald Trump, who traffics in antisemitism all the time?”

Raskin continued, saying, “She didn’t utter a peep of protest when he had Kanye West and Nick Fuentes over for dinner,” Raskin explained.

“Nick Fuentes, who doubts whether Oct. 7 even took place because he thinks it was some kind of suspicious propaganda move by the Israelis. The Republican Party is filled with people who are entangled with antisemitism like that.”

On Harvard’s campus, Gay is being supported by professors like Gunduz Vassaf, a visiting professor of psychology, who told the AP he believes the fracas being raised by the House Committee on Education & The Workforce is being taken out of context by Republicans, “I fully support her testimony before Congress. I do believe that the situation has been taken out of context in the emotions of the immediate moment.”

Vassaf added, “As long as there’s no incitement and a call for violence, this falls within the freedom of speech.”

In contrast to professors and students professing their support of Gay, Rabbi Chananel Weiner, the Director of Aish Campus Boston, a pro-Israel group, came to the Harvard Campus in what he says is a show of solidarity with Jewish students at Harvard. Weiner told the AP, “We need to resist the ideas really that are being spread here that are really against the Jewish people,” Weiner said.

“The Jewish people are under attack and we’re under attack from all angles, academia being one of them and this is the heart of academia.”

While much of the focus on the hearings has been on a rise in anti-semitism, there has been a rise in Islamophobic attacks and sentiment across the country. Dr. Amer F. Ahmed, a South Asian scholar who also holds multiple Black Studies degrees, and is an expert on Islamophobia, told Diverse Education that the climate following the Oct. 7 attacks has been as bad as it was post-9/11. Ahmed then turned his attention to higher education, saying, “I think that there’s definitely antisemitism on campuses. But I think that we’re not hearing a lot on a number of our campuses about the rising Islamophobia at the same time,” Ahmed said.

“My sense is there’s not been the level of concern or focus that there needs to be to try to mitigate dangerous rhetoric or perceptions that result in violent acts, like we’ve seen here in Burlington.”

Ahmed added, “And so, I really want my colleagues in higher education to really commit to learning and understanding more about how to address Islamophobia on our campuses and why it’s such a critical moment to do so.” 

Source: Black Enterprise


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