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Some Harvard board members face pressure to resign for endorsing president’s ‘free expression’ stance

New Delhi, Dec. 27: Amid a controversy over Harvard University President Claudine Gay’s defense of free expression during anti-Israel protests, certain campus faculty members have demanded that some board members resign for supporting her, reports Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

According to the report, criticism against President Gay has escalated due to her characterization of anti-Israel protests on campus under the umbrella of free expression.

Due to allegations of damaging the campus prestige, there are persistent calls for Gay to step down, with certain faculty members at Harvard University in the US advocating for the restoration of the university’s “historic reputational damage,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, some board members who have expressed support for Gay are also facing calls for resignation by some of their colleagues.

“Harvard’s reputation has taken a very substantial hit in the world,” said former Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey Flier, who was invited to meet with some board members last week to discuss various issues, including the ongoing divisions within the campus over Gay’s issue.

Kit Parker, professor of bioengineering and applied physics, highlighted Harvard’s critical juncture and urged board members to resign. He questions, “How arrogant is Harvard? And when I say Harvard, I mean the Harvard Corporation. Do they think this is going to go away?”

The Harvard Corporation, which has 12 members, holds the distinction of being the oldest corporation in the Western Hemisphere, according to information on its website.

An unnamed faculty member has proposed invoking a provision within the Massachusetts constitution to appoint a state representative to the board. A spokeswoman for Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey confirmed that the governor is aware of the proposal and expressed excitement for the review.

The development came as fallout continues from early December when three US college presidents – the University of Pennsylvania’s Liz Magill, Gay, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sally Kornbluth – testified before Congress on antisemitic incidents on their campuses.

They expressed their commitment to combating all forms of hatred, as well as an increase in Islamophobia and hatred toward Muslims.

They spent hours answering questions about antisemitism, disciplinary actions against students, how universities represent different points of view and campus security.

Magill resigned on Saturday after days of criticism and pressure following her comments at the hearing.

Separately, Harvard University’s former presidents – Lawrence S. Bacow, Derek Bok, Drew Gilpin Faust, Neil L. Rudenstine, and Lawrence H. Summers – also expressed strong support for Gay “as she leads Harvard into the future.”

“We look forward to supporting President Gay in whatever ways we can as Harvard faces this challenging moment for higher education and the wider world,” the university said on X.


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