Claudine Gay has resigned as president of Harvard University after new charges of plagiarism. "Confronting hate and . . . upholding scholarly rigor" are "two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am," Gay wrote in a statement. She complained of "personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus."
I'm guessing that she will be replaced neither by another black female nor by a white male. I'm guessing an Asian-American -- or perhaps someone of Hispanic heritage -- will get the nod after a very thorough review of their "scholarly rigor."
Gay was a diversitycrat, not a distinguished scholar, writes New York Times columnist Bret Stephens. She'd published only 11 journal articles in 26 years and written no books, yet reached the "pinnacle" of academia.
Elite colleges have abandoned the old model "centered on the ideal of intellectual merit and chiefly concerned with knowledge, discovery and the free and vigorous contest of ideas," writes Stephens. The new "social-justice model" has eroded Americans' confidence in higher education.
"People admire, and will strive for, excellence — both for its own sake and for the status it confers," he writes. But "status without excellence" is a loser.
Yes, Harvard will survive, Stephens concedes. "There is still a lot of excellence in today’s academia and plenty of good reasons to send your kids to college." But "the intellectual rot is pervasive and won’t stop spreading until universities return to the idea that their central purpose is to identify and nurture and liberate the best minds, not to engineer social utopias."
Lowering standards to keep Gay on the job would not be "anti-racism," argued linguist John McWhorter, also in a Times commentary, before the resignation. Her defenders said firing her would be giving in to a “mob,” he wrote. "However, one person’s mob is another person’s gradually emerging consensus among reasonable people."
As a dean, Claudine Gay tried to destroy the careers of two distinguished black scholars, writes Max Eden. Economist Roland Fryer and Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard Law professor, both were charged with maintaining a "hostile environment"
Fryer's research into the killings of unarmed Black men in Houston had found no racial disparities. Sullivan, who was dean of a residence hall, had agreed to help represent Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein against rape charges.
Like other elite universities, Harvard "is still plagued by a toxic campus culture, ideological corruption, and bureaucratic bloat that stifle open inquiry and free discourse," writes Ilya Shapiro of the Manhattan Institute. A mediocre scholar, Claudine Gay "is the apotheosis of an anti-intellectual movement that values DEI, identity, and activism over truth-seeking, merit, and education."
There's no evidence that Harvard's board is willing to "do the work" -- as proposed in this five-point plan -- to restore the university's "tarnished stature," Shapiro writes.