by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Claudine Gay is out as president of Harvard. It’s tempting for Democrats to simply ascribe her fall to the nefarious activities of the right and, of course, to racism as Gay herself alleges in her resignation letter. If so, no rethinking of Democratic positions is necessary, just a ringing affirmation of the party’s noble commitment to, well, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
That would be a mistake. In truth, Gay owed her position to her race, gender and, importantly, her role as a DEI enforcer par excellence. Her body of academic work is thin, undistinguished and, as we now know, riddled with instances of plagiarism. As the dean of arts and sciences at Harvard, her position prior to becoming president, Gay presided over a DEI regime where dissenters from the reigning orthodoxy were enthusiastically punished, including the evolutionary biologist Carole Hooven for publicly asserting that there were only two biological sexes and, most egregiously, the brilliant young economist Roland Fryer.
Fryer, like Gay, is black. But unlike Gay, who grew up in a comfortable middle-class household headed by two professionals and attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Fryer came from a broken home, living on and off with his alcoholic father and crack-dealing relatives and was involved in gang life. But he overcame all that to become a profoundly original economist who won the John Bates Clark award for best economist under 40, with innumerable pathbreaking papers to his name. …
… [T]he status quo-challenging aspect of his work was not well-received around Harvard, especially when he published a meticulous study of police use of violence that found police no more likely to shoot blacks than whites in police-civilian interactions and another study that found that “viral” incidents of police violence followed by investigations typically lead to police pullback and large increases in felonies and homicides, mostly of black victims.