Obama pressured Harvard not to fire its president after antisemitism hearing

Another scandal has plagued Claudine Gay since the antisemitism hearings regarding dozens of allegations of plagiarism, including in her doctoral thesis.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Former President Barack Obama, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991, privately urged Harvard not to dismiss its president, Claudine Gay, amid the scandal that ensued following her antisemitism testimony at a congressional hearing on December 5th.

One source told Jewish Insider about the incident, saying: “It sounded like people were being asked to close ranks to keep the broader administration stable — including its composition.”

Harvard President Claudine Gay, along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, gave evasive answers to questions posed to them before the House Education and Workforce Committee and refused to say that calls for genocide against Jews violated the university’s harassment code.

The hearings were met with widespread condemnation as Claudine Gay and Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania attempted to walk back their answers, with Gay saying that “personally” she felt antisemitic statements were “vile.”

Liz Magill resigned under pressure, and there were calls for Claudine Gay’s resignation as well until Harvard faculty came to the support of the first African American president of Harvard.

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However, another scandal has plagued Claudine Gay since the antisemitism hearings regarding dozens of allegations of plagiarism, including in her doctoral thesis.

The Obama connection may also influence the investigation into Gay’s plagiarism scandal since Obama Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s brother is Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and is a senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation.

Gay has denied the allegation and wrote in a statement to the Boston Globe, “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship. Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards.”

Although a four-person panel found “examples of duplicative language without appropriate attribution,” a separate three-person panel commissioned by the Harvard Corporation claimed they found no other improper citations in Gay’s other published works.

In addition to the antisemitism hearing, the House Education Committee sent a letter to Pritzker demanding internal records detailing its handling of the plagiarism probe.