Harvard president awaits word on her fate following backlash on antisemitism testimony

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard President Claudine Gay awaited word Tuesday on her fate as leader of the prestigious Ivy League school following her comments last week at a congressional hearing on antisemitism.

Only months into her leadership, Gay came under intense scrutiny following the hearing in which she and two of her peers struggled to answer questions about campus antisemitism. Their academic responses provoked a backlash from Republican opponents, along with alumni and donors who say the university leaders are failing to stand up for Jewish students on their campuses.

Some lawmakers and donors to the the university called for Gay to step down, following the resignation of Liz Magill as president of the University of Pennsylvania on Saturday.

The Harvard Corporation, the university’s highest governing body, met Monday. It was expected to release a statement on Tuesday about Gay.

The Harvard Crimson student newspaper reported Tuesday that Gay, who became Harvard’s first Black president in July, will remain in office with the support of the Harvard Corporation following the conclusion of the board’s meeting. It cited an unnamed source familiar with the decision.

The university did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

A petition signed by more than 600 faculty members asked the school’s governing body to keep Gay in charge.

In an interview with The Crimson last week, Gay said got caught up in a heated exchange at the House committee hearing and failed to properly denounce threats of violence against Jewish students.

“What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community — threats to our Jewish students — have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,” Gay said.

Testimony from Gay and Magill drew intense national backlash, as have similar responses from the president of MIT, who also testified before the Republican-led House Education and Workforce Committee.

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