Upenn Fallout Causes Demands for Harvard President to Step Down

Billboard trucks calling for the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay were deployed on campus on Sunday, following her controversial remarks to Congress regarding the school’s code of conduct and calls for the genocide of Jews. The trucks, privately funded by an anonymous source, drove around campus and positioned themselves at the school’s main gate, featuring photos of Gay and blaring her exchange with Republican Representative Elise Stefanik.

This protest follows a similar one that occurred on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus last week, calling for the resignation of their president, Elizabeth Magill. Magill announced her resignation on Saturday, which has only added fuel to the fire for those calling for Gay’s resignation.

Gay, along with the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania, came under fire last week for their handling of anti-Semitism on their respective campuses following Hamas attacks on Israel in October. During her testimony, Stefanik pressed Gay on whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment. Gay responded by saying, “It can be, depending on the context.” This evasive answer has sparked outrage from Jewish groups, lawmakers, and the public.

In response to the backlash, Gay issued an apology to the Harvard Crimson, stating, “I am sorry. Words matter.” However, this apology has done little to quell calls for her resignation. Over 70 members of Congress signed a letter demanding that Gay step down, and pressure has only increased since Magill’s resignation was announced.

Harvard’s Corporation and the Board of Overseers held a meeting on Sunday to discuss Gay’s leadership and the public outcry to her responses to Congress. It is expected that they will also discuss whether the school should issue a public statement on the matter. This meeting comes amidst a growing movement among students, alumni, and the public to hold Gay accountable for her handling of anti-Semitism on campus.

The billboard trucks and a plane with a banner reading “HARVARD – STOP JEW HATRED” are all part of the anonymous funder’s efforts to bring attention to the issue and call for Gay’s resignation. The deployment of these trucks and the widespread criticism of Gay’s leadership have sparked a heated debate on campus and throughout the country. It remains to be seen how Harvard will respond to this mounting pressure and whether Gay will ultimately step down as president.

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