by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Former President Barack Obama went to bat for Harvard President Claudine Gay amid backlash she received following her testimony on antisemitism before Congress.
A confidential source familiar with the matter told Jewish Insider on Tuesday that Obama, a Harvard graduate, had privately lobbied on Gay’s behalf following her congressional appearance about antisemitism and threats against Jewish students on the Ivy League campus.
“It sounded like people were being asked to close ranks to keep the broader administration stable—including its composition,” the source said of Obama’s involvement.
In early December, Gay sat before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where she was asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews on campus violates the university’s codes of conduct related to bullying and harassment.
Her claim that the alleged conduct would only warrant a response from the school based on the “context” drew criticism across social media and even prompted a response from the White House.
Gay issued an apology after the hearing and the fellows of the Harvard Corporation, the university’s highest government body, released a Dec. 12 statement backing the Harvard president despite widespread calls for her resignation. The board also addressed allegations of plagiarism regarding Gay’s academic writing first flagged in October.
On Tuesday, Harvard’s research integrity officer, Stacey Springs, reportedly received a complaint detailing more than 40 allegations of plagiarism — ranging from missing quotation marks around a few phrases or sentences to entire paragraphs lifted verbatim — regarding Gay’s academic works, according to a document obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Harvard Corporation also released a summary of a review Wednesday evening, saying Gay will request three corrections from Harvard’s Office of the Provost regarding her 1997 Ph.D. dissertation, The Harvard Crimson reported.
Through additional review, Harvard said it found two additional instances of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.”