When Claudine Gay first hit the public stage, it was with great fanfare. Those who had never heard of her only knew that she had become the first African American president at one of the country’s most prestigious universities. Now, she’ll be remembered as the embattled Black woman with the shortest tenure in Harvard’s history. If only she had been aggressively clear that she would crack down on any comment or activity that so much as hinted towards pro-Palestine support.

I’ll admit I haven’t gone into the weeds about the plagiarism charges. That’s because this has little to do with plagiarism. This has all to do with making an example out of anyone who dared to ascend to the power throne deemed for white men only and take a stand for democracy. If this were truly about plagiarism, billionaire Bill Ackerman, who helped to lead the witch hunt against Gay for her alleged plagiarism, would have first outed his wife, Neri Oxman. Oxman is now accused of stealing quotes from Wikipedia - of all places - for her MIT dissertation.

Right now, the extremists and the Zionists are making campuses their battleground for teachable lessons. The conservatives in this country are going after people with a vengeance who uphold equity and who don’t unequivocally support Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. Anyone in positions of power and influence are in the cross-hairs of the anti-DEI or the Zionists. For Claudine Gay, she was a victim of a double whammy.

Colleges and universities, already on the ropes from the U.S. Supreme Courts’ strike against affirmative action, seem to be cowering to the pressures from the Right. The chilling effect has been painful to watch.

After being grilled by Rep. Elise Stefanik at the congressional hearing, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned. Stefanik vowed to bring down the presidents of Harvard and MIT. That’s two down and one to go.

The GOP held hostage the state funding to the University of Wisconsin system unless it would turn its back on fairness and inclusion. The UW regents caved, giving the GOP another victory in the anti-DEI campaign. UW President Jay Rothman was ordered to “re-imagine” diversity, equity and inclusion. Translation: dismantle anything that looks like affirmative action. In exchange for the betrayal, the new engineering building moves forward along with some other devilish goodies.

I don’t know Claudine Gay’s personal story, but I know she has endured the slings and arrows of racism and patriarchy on her journey to attain the so-called American dream. Being the brilliant woman she is, it didn’t take long for her to think about, then pen her thoughts as to what really happened and why.

The title of Gay’s essay, published in the New York Times, the day after her resignation said it all: What Just Happened at Harvard is Bigger Than Me. She - and everyone else - knows this is not about her, it’s about a “broader way to unravel public faith in pillars of American society.” Gay realized, too late, that she was the “victim of a well-laid trap” as she attempted to defend herself under the gaze of relentless white, public scrutiny. She shouldn’t have to stand alone.

This is the time for academic institutions to stand up for something, or in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fall for anything. Most have lofty missions like Harvard, to “educate future leaders” and to inspire “every member of our community to strive toward a more just, fair, and promising world.”

Concepts like equity, fairness and justness are like kryptonite to the MAGA-ites and their buddies. That means freedom-loving people have to beat them down with heaps of democracy that will weaken their reactionary stranglehold on democracy in this country.

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board

member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers,

founder and Chair Emeritus of the

Organization for Black Struggle in St.

Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and

speaker. She is the author of The Best of

the Way I See It – A Chronicle of

Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers

can be found on her blog

jamalarogers.com. Contact Ms. Rogers

and BC.

  Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share