A day after she announced her resignation as president of Harvard University in the US, Claudine Kay wrote that she could not resist the huge controversy over free speech and anti-Semitic speech and allegations of plagiarism. Opinion essayPublished by The New York TimesExplains the parameters of his decision.
Claiming he was at fault, he says he has been the target of “death threats” and countless racist insults, defending the campaign based on “recycled and worn-out stereotypes about the abilities and attitudes” of black people. Against him, political activists in the North American conservative movement labeled them “opportunists”, “beyond a university or a leader”.
“This is one small skirmish in a broader war to erode public confidence in the pillars of American society,” he lamented. “Trusted institutions of all kinds — from healthcare organizations to news organizations — continue to fall victim to concerted efforts to undermine their legitimacy and undermine the credibility of their leaders.”
The university was accused by Republicans and Jewish organizations of tolerating anti-Semitic speech following the October 7 attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians and military personnel. Prestigious US universities have denied that anti-Semitic messages and possible calls for the genocide of Jews on university campuses violate the institutions' rules and codes of conduct, according to a US congressional hearing.
Harvard's first black president – who left the post after six months – admitted he was wrong in his approach in response to the Hamas attack, but said he had fallen into a “well-laid trap” in Congress.
“Yes, I made a mistake. In my initial response to the atrocities of October 7, he wrote, I should have stated more firmly what all people of good faith know: that Hamas is a terrorist organization bent on eliminating the Jewish state. “And, at the congressional hearing last month, I fell into a well-laid trap. I was negligent and should have made it clear that calls for the genocide of the Jewish people were abhorrent and unacceptable, and I would use every tool at my disposal to protect students from such hatred.
“More recently, the attacks have focused on my academic career. My reviewers have found instances of material being copied without proper references in my academic writings. I believe that all scholars deserve full and adequate credit for their work. When I became aware of the errors, I contacted the journals that had published the flagged articles, and professors at Harvard. I have sought amendments as per how similar cases have been handled,” he added.
It was denounced in the press by activist Christopher Ruffo and journalist Christopher Brunet American ConservativeBy site The conservative Washington Free Beacon said allegations of plagiarism were based on Kay's work. The New York TimesHarvard's former president “was accused not of stealing ideas, but rather of copying language from other academics, changing words or phrases or ordering them differently”.
“I have never misrepresented the results of my research, nor have I taken credit for other people's research,” Kay assured.