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Harvard president apologizes for remarks made during House antisemitism hearing

In the interview she said she was sorry and that "words matter."

Published: December 9, 2023 10:12am

Harvard President Claudine Gay has apologized for remarks she made during a House hearing on antisemitism, which had led to multiple calls for her resignation. 

During the House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., questioned Gay, asking, “At Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment?” 

Gay responded, saying, “depending on the context,” it could violate policies and “antisemitic speech, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation — that is actionable conduct and we do take action.” 

On Thursday, Gay did an interview with The Harvard Crimson in which she apologized for her statements, according to The Hill.

In the interview she said she was sorry and that "words matter."

“I got caught up in what had become at that point, an extended, combative exchange about policies and procedures,” Gay said. “What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community — threats to our Jewish students — have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged.” 

“Substantively, I failed to convey what is my truth,” she concluded.

More than 70 lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the presidents of Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of Pennsylvania to be fired following the Tuesday House hearing on antisemitism. 

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