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Claudine Gay during graduation ceremonies at Harvard University in Cambridge.

Radio-Canada

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The president of the prestigious Harvard University, Claudine Gay, presented her resignation on Tuesday, amid criticism of her comments deemed ambiguous on issues linked to anti-Semitism on campus and accusations of plagiarism. p>

It is with a heavy heart, but with a deep love for Harvard, that I write to announce that I will be stepping down as president , Ms. Gay wrote in a letter to the Harvard community.

Her mandate was the shortest in the history of the university since its founding in 1636, indicates the New York Times, which recalls that Ms. Gay was the first president from the African-American community and the second woman to lead the institution.

In her letter published on the university's website, she talks about having suffered threats and racism.

It was complicated to see doubt hovering over my commitments to confronting hatred and respecting academic rigor […] and frightening to be the subject of personal attacks and threats fueled by racism, she writes.

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Claudine Gay, 53, born in New York into a family of Haitian immigrants, had nevertheless received the support of the university's board of directors on December 12. Harvard's highest office had expressed confidence that President Gay is the right leader to help our [academic] community address the very serious societal issues we face.

A petition from nearly 700 professors opposed calls and political pressure aimed at obtaining the resignation of Claudine Gay, accused of having mismanaged problems of anti-Semitism on campus.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Since the bloody attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7, followed by deadly reprisals by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, the conflict has unleashed passions in universities renowned in the United States, including Harvard.

On December 5, in a tense atmosphere, Claudine Gay and her counterparts from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Elizabeth Magill and Sally Kornbluth, answered questions from elected officials in the House of Representatives for five hours.

Among them, Republican Elise Stefanik, who equated calls for an intifada from pro-Palestinian students to an exhortation to genocide against Jews in Israel and around the world.

When Ms. Stefanik asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated Harvard's harassment policy, yes or no, Ms. Gay responded: It may, depending on the context, before adding: Yes it does. is directed against a person.

A few days after the controversy caused by these remarks, Elizabeth Magill left her position as president of UPenn, and 70 elected officials Most recently, Ms. Gay has been accused of several cases of plagiarism in the American media. An investigation by Harvard's Board of Trustees, however, concluded that Ms. Gay had not violated the University's rules.

With information from Agence France-Presse

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