By Newt Gingrich, Washington Times
After Ms. Gay’s self-serving and stunningly deceitful column, “What Just Happened at Harvard Is Bigger Than Me,” I could not resist commenting on the self-delusion and arrogance she exhibited.
Her description of the House committee hearing, which started her troubles, was astonishingly false. She asserted that “at a congressional hearing last month, I fell into a well-laid trap. I neglected to clearly articulate that calls for the genocide of Jewish people are abhorrent and unacceptable and that I would use every tool at my disposal to protect students from that kind of hate.”
If you watch the 5½-minute video of Rep. Elise Stefanik (a Harvard graduate herself) grilling Ms. Gay, you know that Ms. Gay did not simply “neglect” to condemn calls for genocide. She bobbed and weaved around Ms. Stefanik’s clear questions while repeating a series of vague phrases her public relations consultants likely fed her. She apparently thought the script would get her through the hearing without infuriating the hard-left antisemites whose emotional energy and aggressiveness now dominate the Harvard campus (and a host of other elite schools).
Ms. Gay’s performance in that committee hearing was so tone-deaf and lacking in moral judgment that millions of Americans concluded by the next morning that she had to resign.
The Harvard power structure, which hired Ms. Gay six months before, briefly rallied to defend her. But stories quickly spread that she repeatedly plagiarized other scholars in her academic work. As Ms. Gay described it in the Times, “My critics found instances in my academic writings where some material duplicated other scholars’ language, without proper attribution.”
Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work and words without proper attribution and acknowledgment. It’s cheating.
In another cheating scandal, the Harvard Crimson reported last Feb. 5 that 70 students had been made to withdraw from classes because roughly 1% of the student body had been cheating in a government class. According to the paper, a little more than half of those students were ultimately booted from the college.
Clearly, these students did not understand the “proper attribution” defense, which Ms. Gay feebly used to shield herself from charges of plagiarism.
Finally, Ms. Gay had to wrap herself in the defense that the attack on her was racist. As she put it, her opponents “recycled tired racial stereotypes about Black talent and temperament. They pushed a false narrative of indifference and incompetence.”
In her astonishingly egocentric and hubristic defense, she claimed: “It is not lost on me that I make an ideal canvas for projecting every anxiety about the generational and demographic changes unfolding on American campuses: a Black woman selected to lead a storied institution. Someone who views diversity as a source of institutional strength and dynamism. Someone who has advocated a modern curriculum that spans from the frontier of quantum science to the long-neglected history of Asian Americans. Someone who believes that a daughter of Haitian immigrants has something to offer to the nation’s oldest university.”
I am confident she had no idea how ironic her closing line was. She argued: “Universities must remain independent venues where courage and reason unite to advance truth, no matter what forces set against them.”
Her purported guiding principles were diversity, equity and inclusion. But that didn’t seem to apply to the Jewish students at Harvard who were being harassed and threatened.
The inherent racism, indoctrination and hostility to alternative values and thought means DEI really should be described as discrimination, exclusion and intolerance. After all, this is what it morphs into in practice. It turned a blind eye to advocacy of genocide.
Ms. Gay’s depth of dishonesty and inability to grip reality is a strong reminder of how hard it is going to be to return the academic world to a culture of serious study, real openness and genuine debate.
In one sense, Ms. Gay is right. What has been happening at Harvard and other institutions is bigger than all of us.