Antisemitism row: Harvard backs president Gay, says right leader to heal community

UPenn president Magill resigned after facing backlash over her remarks

Antisemitism row Harvard Harvard University president Claudine Gay | AP

Amid the antisemitism row, the governing body at the Harvard university, has backed its president, Claudine Gay after she faced a huge backlash following her controversial testimony.

University of Pennsylvania president Elizabeth Magill, MIT president Sally Kornbluth and Gay had appeared for testimonies in front of a House of Representatives committee that focused on hearing antisemitism issues on campuses on December 5.

When the committee asked whether students who called for genocide of Jews would be punished, Magill had refused to answer at first and said that it would depend on the "context".

Gay also answered in a similar way rather than condemning the calls for genocide.

The Harvard board in its statement said Gay was the right leader to heal the community. "As members of the Harvard Corporation, we today reaffirm our support for President Gay’s continued leadership of Harvard University. 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 said in a statement.

"Harvard’s mission is advancing knowledge, research, and discovery that will help address deep societal issues and promote constructive discourse, and we are confident that President Gay will lead Harvard forward toward accomplishing this vital work," the statement added.

More than 70 bipartisan lawmakers, sent a letter to the governing boards of the three universities urging them to remove its presidents after the testimonies.

The House committee on education and the workforce has announced an official congressional investigation into antisemitism at Harvard.

Unlike Magill, who resigned after a huge uproar, Gay had support of fellow faculty members. The Harvard Alumini Association's executive committee also announced its support to her. Gay had apologised after facing backlash. Amid the Israel-Palestine war, antisemitism issues rose in many universities.

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