Confidential source reveals Obama's quiet advocacy for Harvard President following Congressional testimony

In early December, Gay appeared before the Committee on Education & the Workforce, where she faced questions about whether advocating for the extermination of Jews on the university campus constitutes a violation of the institution's policies on bullying and harassment.

Confidential source reveals Obama's quiet advocacy for Harvard President following Congressional testimony
Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP
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Former President Barack Obama came to the defense of Harvard President Claudine Gay in response to the criticism she faced after testifying on the issue of antisemitism before Congress.

According to a confidential source who is knowledgeable about the situation, Obama, a Harvard alumnus, quietly advocated for Gay following her congressional testimony on the topic of antisemitism and the safety of Jewish students at the Ivy League institution.

"It sounded like people were being asked to close ranks to keep the broader administration stable—including its composition," the source told the Jewish Insider of Obama's involvement.

In early December, Gay appeared before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where she was questioned about whether advocating for the extermination of Jews on the university campus constitutes a violation of the institution's policies on bullying and harassment.

Her assertion that the purported behavior would only necessitate a reaction from the university contingent on the "context" faced backlash on various social media platforms and even elicited a reply from the White House.

Following the hearing, Gay issued an apology, and on December 12, the members of the Harvard Corporation, the university's top governing body, issued a statement supporting the Harvard president, despite widespread demands for her resignation. The board also addressed allegations of plagiarism in Gay's academic writing, which were initially raised in October.

According to a document obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Harvard's research integrity officer, Stacey Springs, reportedly received a complaint on Tuesday, which outlined over 40 accusations of plagiarism in Gay's academic writings. These allegations varied from instances of missing quotation marks around a few phrases or sentences to entire paragraphs that were allegedly copied verbatim.

On Wednesday evening, the Harvard Corporation also provided an overview of a review, stating that Gay plans to seek three revisions from Harvard's Office of the Provost pertaining to her 1997 Ph.D. dissertation, as reported by The Harvard Crimson.

Following an additional review, Harvard stated it found two additional instances of "duplicative language without appropriate attribution."

On that very day, Virginia Foxx, the Chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee from North Carolina, sent a letter to Penny Pritzker, the Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation, requesting further details regarding how Harvard has addressed the plagiarism allegations against Gay and concerns about the unequal enforcement of Harvard's Honor Code.

This controversy has placed a particular focus on Penny Pritzker, a former member of the Obama administration and a wealthy hotel magnate from Chicago who made a $100 million donation to Harvard just last month.

In December of the previous year, Pritzker personally headed the search committee that appointed Gay as president, praising her as a "remarkable leader who is profoundly devoted to sustaining and enhancing Harvard's academic excellence" at the time.

Prior to adding her name to the Harvard Corporation's statement on December 12, along with 11 other board members, Pritzker avoided numerous inquiries from reporters of the university newspaper regarding her stance on whether Gay should resign. During that period, Gay asserted that she had Pritzker's "full support."

"What I hear is [Pritzker] has no intention of going down with the ship," a Harvard source close to the issue told Jewish Insider.

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