Harvard: Protest trucks swarm Harvard, demanding president’s resignation over antisemitism response

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NEW DELHI: Billboard trucks with messages demanding the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay were seen on the university’s campus this Sunday. This action follows Gay’s controversial testimony to Congress regarding the school’s stance on antisemitism. The trucks, privately funded, displayed the message “FIRE GAY” alongside photos of Gay during her congressional appearance last Tuesday.
One truck was seen circling the campus, while another was stationed at the main gate, broadcasting Gay’s conversation with Republican New York Rep Elise Stefanik.Additionally, plans were revealed for an airplane to fly over the campus carrying a banner stating, “HARVARD — STOP JEW HATRED.”
As per a Fox News report, this protest mirrors a similar one at the University of Pennsylvania, where President Elizabeth Magill faced calls for her resignation, which she subsequently announced on Saturday.
The controversy stems from a congressional hearing where Gay, Magill, and MIT President Sally Kornbluth were questioned about their handling of antisemitism on their campuses. During the hearing, Stefanik asked Gay if “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates Harvard’s rules on bullying and harassment. Gay’s response, which suggested it depends on the context, sparked significant backlash.

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Stefanik strongly criticized Gay’s answers, stating that such responses were unacceptable and calling for her resignation. Following the outcry, Gay issued an apology, expressing regret for her words and acknowledging the pain they caused.
Over 70 members of Congress have since signed a letter urging Gay’s resignation. Meanwhile, Harvard’s Corporation and the Board of Overseers held a meeting to discuss Gay’s leadership and the university’s response to the controversy.
Harvard has not yet issued a public statement in response to these events.

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Harvard faculty rally around Gay
Meanwhile, many Harvard professors have expressed their support for the university’s president through a letter, following her recent congressional hearing testimony regarding the increase in anti-Semitism on campus, as reported by a US newspaper on Sunday.
This show of support for Claudine Gay, as detailed by the Boston Globe, comes in the wake of the resignation of a fellow Ivy League university president on Saturday. This resignation was prompted by intense scrutiny and political backlash stemming from their participation in the same Tuesday hearing.
The letter, alongside the hearing, emerges amid a growing discourse in the United States on the limits of free speech. This debate has been fueled by a surge in hate crimes and derogatory language aimed at Jews and Muslims, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
According to the Globe’s report, the letter cautions that efforts to oust Gay due to political reasons conflict with Harvard’s dedication to academic liberty. It urges the university’s leadership to uphold the institution’s autonomy.
(With inputs from agencies)

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