A Timeline of Claudine Gay as Harvard’s President

Claudine Gay has served as president of Harvard University only since July, but she has faced criticism on two fronts: her response to rising tensions on campus over the Israel-Gaza war, and questions about possible plagiarism in her academic work.

Here are some key moments during Dr. Gay’s stint as president.

Dec. 15, 2022

Harvard University announces that Dr. Gay, the school’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will become president the following year. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she will be the university’s first Black leader and the second woman to hold the position. Dr. Gay received an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

Claudine Gay at Harvard University’s commencement ceremony in May.Credit…Brian Snyder/Reuters

July 1, 2023

Dr. Gay, 53, officially begins in the job. A supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she takes the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.

Oct. 8

The day after the Hamas attack on Israel, a coalition of more than 30 student groups at Harvard publishes an open letter, saying it holds “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” The letter receives intense backlash.

Oct. 9

Dr. Gay and Harvard’s leadership come under fire for not publicly condemning the Hamas attack or denouncing the letter from the student groups. Amid rising pressure from alumni and donors, university leaders including Dr. Gay issue a statement expressing heartbreak over the death and destruction from the war while calling for “an environment of dialogue and empathy.”

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