Dr. Claudine Gay, who made history when she was named the first Black president of Harvard University six months ago, resigned from the university on Tuesday amid a flurry of allegations involving plagiarism and concerns over her handling of antisemitism on campus.
"A Harvard president who has to write four statements over six days on the same topic will never carry the confidence of that community: too slow and uncertain," said civil rights attorney Amos N. Jones, who is a graduate of Harvard's Law School. "In that community, a leader faces extremely high standards developed over 387 years, and from all directions. And now, the 12 Fellows might need to resign, too. They, apparently, don't know how to choose and deal with presidents. Who can trust them to find the next one? I can't."
Jones floated the name Danielle Holley, the current president of Mount Holyoke College and the former dean of Howard University's Law School as a worthy successor to Gay.
In the meantime, the university's provost, Dr. Alan M. Garber has been named interim president.
It became clear this week that the support that Gay enjoyed, particularly among the Harvard faculty was beginning to wane, in light of new allegations that Gay had plagiarized several articles and portions of her 1997 dissertation.
Last month, university leaders said that Gay would submit updates to her dissertation, and add quotations and citations, but was forceful in adding that her research did not constitute misconduct.
"Harvard knows that this long overdue forced resignation of the antisemitic plagiarist president is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history," said Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Trump supporter who has aggressively championed against diversity, equity, inclusion initiatives.
Harvard issued a statement lamenting Gay's resignation.
"While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks. While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls," the statement read. "We condemn such attacks in the strongest possible terms."
Gay is the second Ivy League president to resign. Liz Magill resigned as president of the University of Pennsylvania following her congressional testimony on antisemitism.
"It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president," Gay wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to the Harvard community. "As we welcome a new year and a new semester, I hope we can all look forward to brighter days. Sad as I am to be sending this message, my hopes for Harvard remain undimmed."