What is behind the Harvard president's resignation?

The president of Harvard University, Claudine Gay, has resigned in the wake of twin accusations that she had failed to sufficiently distance herself from antisemitic positions and that she had committed plagiarism in numerous publications. When asked in a congressional hearing whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates university rules, she replied that it depended on the context.

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Le Figaro (FR) /

A fair decision

Columnist Eliott Mamane stresses the important role of the plagiarism allegations in Le Figaro:

“The most important thing to note is that despite her clear support for numerous antisemitic activists in the academic world (including pro-Hamas professors and students), Claudine Gay was not forced out of office because of her inability to condemn calls for genocide against the Jews, but because of suspected plagiarism. It was only new allegations which brought the total number of accusations on this issue up to almost 50 that led to her resignation. ... It would be unfair to the students, who are subject to stringent plagiarism checks, to take a lax approach with regard to their president.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Not an antisemite

The Süddeutsche Zeitung defends Gay against accusations of antisemitism:

“The pro-Palestinian demonstrations at Harvard were in part anti-Israel, antisemitic, oblivious to history and aggressive. Gay has emphasised that antisemitism has no place at Harvard. Again and again, vigorously and plausibly. But were the demonstrations really calling for genocide? Gay wanted to differentiate in a field that only recognises two sides. She will forever have to put up with the accusation of being a tainted academic. But not the accusation of being antisemitic.”

The Guardian (GB) /

A crusade against education

The outrage over Gay has nothing to do with accusations of plagiarism, The Guardian argues:

“It [also] has nothing to do with Claudine Gay. Her resignation is merely the latest episode in the rightwing's assault on education - a project that has increased in its virulence and success in recent years, but which has been decades in the making. Republicans hate education, and they have demonstrated this hate in both their policymaking and in the public theatre of their cultural grievance. ... Both the media and the American university system had an opportunity to see the attacks on her in the context of Republicans' broader anti-education crusade.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Anti-woke smells blood

Conservatives outside the US will also use this case to push their agenda, De Volkskrant predicts:

“The conflict over the 'left-wing indoctrination' of universities is also being waged in the Netherlands and will become fiercer now that this battle has been won. Anti-woke now smells blood. Reactionary opinion-makers have seen how effective it can be to use woke's weapons against woke. Outrage and grievance pay off. After social justice warriors wielded an ever-expanding definition of discrimination - with criticism of black or transgender people quickly being equated with hate or worse - we now see the same dynamics at work among a section of the right.”

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Back to old values

According to Svenska Dagbladet, the president did the right thing:

“Of course, Gay cannot be held entirely responsible for how Harvard has developed. The hypocrisy surrounding the limits of free speech is the result of one-sided radicalism having been elevated to the level of an institutional campus religion. At the same time, the storm of criticism in recent months will hopefully open the door for a certain degree of introspection at American universities. A modest piece of advice would be to try something new - or rather something old and tried and tested.”