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Harvard board backs president amid campus antisemitism backlash

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Harvard’s board has given Claudine Gay its full backing to remain as the university’s president after her Congressional testimony on campus antisemitism stirred furious backlash and a movement to oust her.

The board announced its decision on Tuesday morning following a series of meetings.

“In this tumultuous and difficult time, we unanimously stand in support of President Gay,” its members said in a statement.

Gay is Harvard’s first black and second woman president. She began her term only in July.

Her job was thrown into doubt after a disastrous performance — along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — at a Congressional hearing last week in which all three struggled to say whether calls for genocide of Jews violated their codes of conduct or harassment policies. To varying degrees, all said it depended on “the context” — provoking a firestorm of criticism that reached the White House.

Elizabeth Magill, the Penn president, resigned under pressure on Saturday evening. That focused scrutiny on Gay and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth.

Following the hearing, 74 members of Congress signed a letter to the universities’ boards urging that all three be sacked.

The hearing was held to examine a surge in antisemitism on American campuses since Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel.

This is a developing story

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