Editors at National Review Online take stock of the nation’s oldest university after its president’s resignation.

The new year is barely two days old, yet it has already witnessed a surprise conclusion to a sordid controversy from 2023: Claudine Gay has tendered her resignation as president of Harvard University after her unsuccessful testimony before Congress on the subject of campus antisemitism led to a deeper exploration of her questionable academic background and uncovered a stunning number of examples of plagiarism dotting a publication history only a mere eleven pieces long in the first place.

It is a pathetic end for the first black and female president of such an august intellectual institution, but one that all involved — Gay, the university administration, its faculty, and the unruly student body alike — were wholly complicit in bringing about. Gay’s resignation is richly deserved, but it obviously isn’t going to solve the crisis America currently faces on its elite campuses.

At this point, there can be no denying the gravity of the plagiarism accusations against her. All throughout her academic career dating back to her days as a graduate student, Claudine Gay engaged in serial plagiarism in nearly all of her published writing. It is no exaggeration at all to say that Gay was revealed — by the dogged work of researchers like Christopher Rufo as well as Aaron Sibarium of the Washington Free Beacon and Ryan Mills and Zach Kessel here at National Review, among others — to have been a phony scholar, one whose very small and uninfluential body of work was itself appropriated from others in a repeating pattern of indifference to the basics of proper scholarship. Gay seems to have been in the university business for other reasons, and (even more shamefully) her peers recognized and celebrated it: Despite having a negligible record of scholarship — and this before it was understood that what little existed contained instances of plagiarism — she was rapidly promoted by her peers from a tenure-track faculty position to a full professorship with tenure, then made dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, then president of Harvard itself. It is safe to surmise now that none of this happened because of her brilliant contributions to advancing knowledge.