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Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow

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Claudine Gay, DEI are threats to US higher education

Jan 9

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Former Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigned following a public debate regarding Harvard’s official policy and response to campus protests and First Amendment issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Gay and her defenders have said that she is a victim of an organized right-wing political witch hunt, while her critics contend she was never qualified for her position in the first place and allege Gay was a “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) hire rather than a merit-based hire.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ben Weingarten reviews Gay’s resignation letter and her recent New York Times op-ed, then dives into the debate. Weingarten argues that not only is Claudine Gay unfit for the presidency of Harvard, but that DEI considerations are threatening the integrity of American higher education institutions around the country.

“Diversity” is a demand for left-wing ideological conformity among people of all different colors and sexes. “Equity” is a call for social engineering so every outcome is proportional to America’s identity makeup – as opposed to letting individual achievement without regard to immutable characteristics drive society. “Inclusion” excludes everyone that DEI deems an oppressor – through no fault of their own, because DEI judges people on bases entirely out of their control – except one’s politics.

Where DEI pervades, excellence wanes; ideological monocultures wholly intolerant of opposing views flourish; hatred and division takes hold. That’s precisely what happened at Harvard. That’s precisely what led to Claudine Gay’s hiring, and ultimately fueled her resignation.

Today the division and hatred is against Jews — cast by the Woke as the most White, the oppressor par excellence. But Jews are the canary in the coal mine for America and the Judeo-Christian West.

Claudine Gay is right insofar as the scandal surrounding her is one “skirmish in a broader war,” as she wrote in the New York Times, but it’s not to “unravel public faith in pillars of American society.” It is to restore those pillars hollowed away by our credentialed pseudo-elites to their splendor by ensuring that institutions once again prioritize merit — virtue and excellence — over politics — racial Marxism.

Harvard has shown no contrition or willingness to truly change. For that reason, the pressure must remain on it and all schools to radically restructure in pursuit of academic rigor and excellence. We dismantle this regime, or it dismantles us.

Harvard’s defiant attitude in the wake of disgraced-but-still-tenured President Claudine Gay’s resignation suggests the scandal could continue.

 

On January 2nd, amid continued outrage over Gay’s testimony before Congress in which she effectively protected the school’s pro-Hamas, pro-genocidal-Jew-haters, giving way to mushrooming revelations of her serial plagiarism, and Harvard’s apparent efforts to cover it up and threaten those probing the misconduct, Gay tendered and the school accepted her resignation.

 

Yet to read the letter blessing her decision from the Harvard Corporation – the board largely responsible for selecting Gay as president – you would have no idea why they were letting her go, what she did wrong, or about Harvard Corp’s complicity.

 

It accepted Gay’s resignation “with great sadness,” thanking Gay for her “deep and unwavering commitment to Harvard and to the pursuit of academic excellence;” lauding her for devoting “her career to an institution whose ideals and priorities she has worked tirelessly to advance;” and touting her “extraordinary contributions.”

 

Only five paragraphs in, “with sorrow,” does the Corporation note, without any specifics, that Gay “acknowledged missteps,” and “has taken responsibility for them” before pivoting to how “she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks,” including “repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her.”

 

Gay is a victim you see, and this is a story about bigotry – that she was subject to a witch hunt as Harvard’s first Black woman president, not for conduct infinitely more egregious than what Penn president Liz Magill had resigned over.

 

Not a story about corruption, incompetence, and the total left-wing takeover of elite academic institutions – institutions increasingly marked not only by Jew-hatred, but hatred of Judeo-Christian Western civilization, fomented by the DEI regime Claudine Gay led; a story exposed by prominent Harvard grads and conservative journalists who did the job neither the university nor the corporate media were willing to do in drawing out the truth of the rot and corruption at play, and Gay’s fireable offenses.

 

Of course, she wasn’t fired. Gay will remain at Harvard as a tenured professor, where she will rake in $900,000 a year or so – despite a record that would get students expelled.

 

Meanwhile, the actual victims – those scholars, including Black ones, whose work she ripped off; colleagues whose careers she destroyed in her ascent to power; and students who have suffered under a DEI regime Gay built – get nothing but the satisfaction of knowing she’s out.

 

Gay’s own statements parallel those of the Harvard Corporation.

 

In the letter announcing her resignation, she too focuses not on her shameful and revealing Congressional performance, or unethical conduct, but rather how for her “it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor…and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.”

 

In fact, if you read that letter, you won’t find any explanation for why she was compelled to resign. She merely says that after having consulted with the Corporation “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

 

Why is this a “moment of extraordinary challenge?”

 

What did Gay do to make herself the “focus?”

 

She keeps this charade up in a New York Times op-ed where she is marginally more open about her “mistakes,” while dismissing all of them, but which most tellingly begins with a focus on how, again, she’s the victim.

 

“For weeks, both I and the institution to which I’ve devoted my professional life have been under attack. My character and intelligence have been impugned. My commitment to fighting antisemitism has been questioned.”

 

Could it have anything to do with her own words and actions?

 

She notes again that she’s faced bigotry.

 

If so, that’s despicable.

 

But the legitimate criticism on the merits is what forced her to step down. Not crazies sending emails or making phone calls.

 

Gay continues:

 

“My hope is that by stepping down I will deny demagogues the opportunity to further weaponize my presidency in their campaign to undermine the ideals animating Harvard…excellence, openness, independence, truth.”

 

The thing is, DEI undermines those very ideals by subordinating merit and virtue to left-wing ideology cloaked in the moral garb of promoting the downtrodden based on their place in the identitarian victim hierarchy.

 

“Diversity” is a demand for left-wing ideological conformity among people of all different colors and sexes.

 

“Equity” is a call for social engineering so every outcome is proportional to America’s identity makeup – as opposed to letting individual achievement without regard to immutable characteristics drive society.

 

“Inclusion” excludes everyone that DEI deems an oppressor – through no fault of their own, because DEI judges people on bases entirely out of their control – except one’s politics.

 

Where DEI pervades, excellence wanes; ideological monocultures wholly intolerant of opposing views flourish; hatred and division takes hold.

 

Today it’s against Jews – cast by the Woke as the most White, the oppressor par excellence. But Jews are the canary in the coal mine for America and the Judeo-Christian West.

 

Claudine Gay is right insofar as the scandal surrounding her is one “skirmish in a broader war.”

 

But it’s not to “unravel public faith in pillars of American society.”

 

It is to restore those pillars hollowed away by our credentialed pseudo-elites to their splendor by ensuring that institutions once again prioritize merit – virtue and excellence – over politics – racial Marxism.

 

Harvard has shown no contrition, or willingness to truly change.

 

For that reason, the pressure must remain on it and all schools to radically restructure in pursuit of academic rigor and excellence.

 

We dismantle this regime, or it dismantles us.

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