The odds of Harvard president Claudine Gay losing her job over shrugging at “Jewish genocide” were always slim.
Harvard is too big and too moneyed to care about some donors jumping ship. Claudine Gay wasn’t picked for the traditional reasons university presidents are selected, but to make a statement about its commitment to the new woke values.
The plagiarism scandal has been more awkward since it has ushered in the ultimate showdown between DEI and academic values.
Since the story first broke, the plagiarism problem has been getting worse forcing the more old-school voices in the media to begin covering it. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have run op-eds suggesting that she should resign. CNN and the New York Times both conducted their own exposes of her plagiarism whose sheer scope is shattering.
The Ruth Marcus op-ed in the Post suggests that Gay’s critics are motivated by bad conservative agendas and that they’re right.
It’s become all but impossible to deny Gay’s plagiarism. Trying to defend it is a humiliating exercise. But that’s old-school thinking. New school thinking is ‘who gives a damn’ and the ‘whole concept of plagiarism was (probably) invented by dead white men who owned slaves’.
That’s the DEI approach. And it’s hard to say which one will win out in this showdown between academia and DEI.
The only remaining defense of Gay is to reject any of the values of academia. Even the most basic ones like ripping off other people’s work. And that’s what DEI wants to do.
What’s also at stake here is the question of whether we’re judged as individuals or as members of a group.
As an individual, Gay is inexcusable, but as a member of a group, she’s unimpeachable.
As a scholar and official, she should be fired, but as a woke black woman, she can’t.
These are the forces colliding in Gay’s case. Which of them wins out will say a lot about Harvard and the future of the university.