Gay is out: Harvard President Claudine Gay
was ousted resigned yesterday, setting a record for the shortest tenure in the formerly esteemed university’s nearly 400-year history.
In December, Gay—along with Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania—was grilled by members of Congress on how elite universities handled campus fallout from Hamas’ October 7 pogrom of Israeli civilians. At Harvard specifically, over 30 student groups circulated and signed a declaration stating that they “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” calling it “the apartheid regime.” (All protected speech, sure, but all stunning given the college campus proclivity for safe spaces, trigger warnings, and shoutdowns of far more anodyne speech.) Since then, Magill has been ousted, but Harvard’s governing body said they unanimously stood behind Gay after “extensive deliberations” following her testimony.
But over the past few weeks, evidence has emerged that Gay plagiarized throughout her academic career. Though many in the mediadownplayed it—saying Gay merely used “inadequate citations,” part of their pattern of being overly laudatory toward her—half of the journal articles her resume lists include plagiarized sections, as well as her dissertation. The kicker, per The New York Times: “In one example that drew ridicule, Dr. Gay appeared to borrow exact phrases from the acknowledgments section of another author’s book to thank her mentor and family in the acknowledgments section of her own dissertation.” You truly cannot make this up.
The donors who initially pushed Harvard to better tackle the antisemitism problem, like hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, seem to have realized that the university’s problem is not just one single administrator or young people embracing Hamas-apologist ideas. “I came to learn that the root cause of antisemitism at Harvard was an ideology that had been promulgated on campus, an oppressor/oppressed framework, that provided the intellectual bulwark behind the protests, helping to generate anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate speech and harassment,” wrote
Ackman. But also: “The cost structure of the University is out of control due in large part to the fact that the administration has grown without bounds,” he adds, and “the price of the product, a Harvard education, has risen at a rate well in excess of inflation for decades.”
“What other successful business do you know that has grown the number of customers it serves by less than 20% in 35 years, and where nearly all revenue growth has come from raising prices?” asks Ackman, diagnosing a far bigger problem.
Some may counter that there are some 1,576 public and 2,160 private colleges and universities in the U.S., so why does this one get so much press attention? Many college students’ brains went to woke mush a long time ago, so who cares that student groups LARPed as foreign policy experts for all of 15 minutes?
I think dismissing it all as inconsequential is wrong. For better or worse, Harvard graduates steeped in DEI ideology have gone on to infect all kinds of other industries with their foolish ideas. And, if the 30-year-olds haven’t risen in the ranks enough at present, they surely will in the future: In 2021, 41 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list were helmed by Harvard alums (Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, for example). If the fever breaks at Harvard, as Ackman and others seem to desire, that will have ripple effects.
My only question is why it took a decade for powerhouse donors like Ackman to realize what was going on. If someone had been minding the store, Gay would never have been hired in the first place.
2024’s bad laws: With a new year comes legislators attempting, once again, to screw up your life. Here’s a sampling of what fresh hell awaits.
- California will start mandating that large retailers set aside some toy aisles as gender-neutral.
- Nearly half of U.S. states—22, to be exact—saw minimum wage increases take effect on January 1. The increases affect 11.4 percent of workers nationwide, or 8.4 million people, but the cost increases will surely be passed on to consumers (so we will all be affected by this, actually).
- In Michigan, red flag laws and more regulations on gun storage and background checks will go into effect, making it even harder for residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
- In New York, private schools are now required to offer menstrual products, free of charge, in bathrooms. (I wonder if they’ll be offered in men’s bathrooms too, as YOU NEVER KNOW who may be menstruating, or so they tell me).
Scenes from New York:
“I have since discovered that many of the places in New York where my ancestors lived are still standing: tenements on the Lower East Side, brownstones in Brooklyn Heights, a squat apartment building in Astoria, a two-family building in Canarsie,” writes Binyamin Appelbaum in a beautiful piece for The New York Times.
“I take pleasure in wandering around this museum of family history, but it also makes me sad. The buildings survive because New York is preserving the corporeal city of bricks and steel at the expense of its residents and of those who might live here.”
“I consider NFTs a good Rorschach test for whether an individual’s mind is capable of moving out of ‘the dismissive mode,'” writes Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution. New conservative weapon just dropped:
- The Chinese Communist Party does an about-face on the how-many-kids question, now trying to pressure women into having more babies due to worries about less-than-expected population growth. Women are receiving calls from government officials attempting to exert pressure on matters of family planning, per a Wall Street Journal report.
- A top Hamas official, Saleh al-Arouri, was just killed in a drone strike in Beirut for which Israel has not yet claimed responsibility.
- Donald Trump just filed a lawsuit in an attempt to get his name re-added to the Maine ballot. “The lawsuit filed Tuesday challenges a decision last week by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, who held that the former president is ineligible for another term because of a section of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment,” reports Bloomberg. The 14th Amendment strategy—which bars those who have “engaged in insurrection” from holding federal office—has been used in several states and will likely be weighed by the Supreme Court.
- More previously redacted names of Jeffrey Epstein’s buddies will be released soon.
- Fifth Circuit news: