Free Thesis Statement Generator - Create Your Thesis Online
1. State your topic*
Your topic is the main idea of your paper. It is usually a phrase or a few words that summarize the subject of your paper.
2. State the main idea about this topic*
Explicitly state what the main point of your thesis will be early in your paper.
3. Add evidence that supports your main idea*
What evidence could you use to drive home your thesis’ point? What facts or reasons support your argument?
4. Give another evidence that supports your main point
5. Include a counterargument if possible
Every topic has alternative schools of thought. Think of someone who would disagree with your arguments and/or evidence. What would they say? The more you understand the counterargument, the better you can defend your thesis and its arguments with evidence.
Read the options and choose the one you like:
How to use thesis generator by papersowl.
- Enter all the information we need in brief, do not use full sentences.
- Everything you need is to insert your text and its title into the box.
- Do not use capital letters, periods, or full stops in your answer.
- Hit the “Generate Thesis” button and get samples of your thesis statement.
- Choose the one that suits you from the five presented.
What should you have before using Thesis Generator?
- The topic of your paper. Get creative topic with our topic generator .
- Main conclusion. Use conclusion generator to compose a summary for any type of paper!
- Arguments for your conclusion
- Argument against
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Thesis Statement Generator Review
Other platforms charge for the use of their thesis statement generator that are not always reliable or unique; you get the opposite with Papersowl’s simplistic and reliable thesis statement generator.
How Does Thesis Statement Generator Work?
- The task is to formulate the key concept of your paper; in other words, this is your topic. A statement or a few phrases summarize your paper's main theme. Fill in the requested topic of your paper. First, you should enter all the relevant information. Use clear and concise phrases. You do not need to use complete sentences.
- Explain your major point regarding this subject by inserting the title and the text into the box. Write what you need to say or prove about your subject. When expressing your viewpoint, explain one main thought, define the subject, and declare something particular about it. Avoid using capital characters, periods, or full stops.
- Fields marked with an asterisk are mandatory. Once you have filled them in, hit the generate thesis button. You will see the results below in a separate window. Key phrases will be highlighted in different colors. You can rephrase the thesis or click the button to get a new one. In addition to generating a thesis, you can request the design of examples. Several possible theses will be displayed in the same window.
- The last step is optional. The program offers you sample essays. Click on the corresponding button to get acquainted with examples of related works. The search will return essays or excerpts as close as possible to your topic. You can read them for free or, if necessary, order the full version.
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Advantages Of Thesis Statement Generator By PapersOwl
A thesis statement may appear the most complicated task in the process of writing an academic assignment. We’ve covered you here by developing a game-changing tool. Generating perfect thesis statements, it fills the gaps for you and provides some other tasty benefits:
Our service formulates a powerful thesis statement that informs readers about the scope, objectives, and subject of the paper. The thesis statements derived from our tool are catchy, unique, and relevant, so you don't have to worry about their intelligibility.
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Students may spend hours trying to come up with a relevant thesis statement they can defend in the course of the research. We offer a simple and time-saving algorithm for a great outcome.
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Thesis Statement Generator Online
The most difficult and main part of each writing work is to form a thesis statement. The assignments of different topics are not so easy to create it perfectly at the beginning of writing. But to solve this problem and to help people all around the world who have been puzzled for hours over this issue, an online thesis statement generator was developed and that’s why you can try now to make your ideal one with filling the gaps. Sounds too complicated?
Don’t be scared of wasting lots of time or payments because it will take you less than 2 minutes to get your wish from the free thesis generator. There is nothing sophisticated, just start your research by stating your topic and then write down the main idea of the text, your position. After that you have to fill in a few more gaps, press submit and Bob’s your uncle.
By the way, our website involved lots of professionals to create such a wise thesis maker. And you may not be informed that this service is mostly chargeable on different websites. But we offer you is entirely free of payment. And if you are interested in such an experiment for your writing skills you can try a thesis for a research paper .
If You Pay For Research Paper You Get Many Advantages
Main types of thesis statement.
There are some kinds of essay papers that have ideas and purposes. Therefore, it is logical that for each particular type of essay you should use your own corresponding thesis creator. Each of them has specific skills to find an appropriate one analyzing all information you brought in and producing a well-directed idea in accordance with the essay type. Also, each of them has its own system of calculation.
- Informative speech statement generator
The main idea is to form no argument or expressing but a general goal of your essay. Here it is very important since this expository thesis statement provides the reader with a clear and accessible view of your paper and keeps reading curious.
- Compare and contrast the thesis statement generator.
This calculator works with comparison two or more things depending on your writing task. Instead of wasting lots of time to find an appropriate one to contrast it is very wise to work out the best statement. And having already all the points to work with it would be much easier to finish your work.
- Argumentative thesis statement generator
The problem of this writing helper is to get your opinion and to find out perfect arguments towards it. This one is based on examining your counter position, suggesting different reasons for the subject. Also, get your short summarize on exploring the issue.
- Cause and effect thesis statement generator
Using this one you will get a variety of reasons that refer to the text main idea, which is always hard to produce much. Moreover, you will receive effects that are related to just-ready causes. After that, it is no problem to get over with the rest of the analytical writing information to have your essay one of the best.
- Expository thesis statement generator
Helping students with explaining the sense of an issue to the audience is how it works. What does it imply? Working out evidence evaluating and investigating the problem of the text you will get the very one you needed. The hardest difficulties of such kind of essay leave for its solving.
Choose the appropriate thesis statement maker to enjoy its results on research paper writing service.
The Structure Of Thesis Statement
Its structure is a strong argument you should prove through the whole text. To build it you need to a generalization in one or two sentences. It should include a comment on your position, central message, be something clear and useful for readers. Shape it to show the reader that all information and main you mean there is in your narrative work, nothing extra. Every sentence should be informative or has a reason to think about it.
Samples Of Thesis Statement Created By Our Users
People who visited our website tried to create their own samples and here is what they got:
- After graduating high school, students need a gap year because this leads to socialization and students become aware of what do they want from life.
Considering high schools and people it is a fact as that is the true and the second part of the sentence is a reason because that could be the answer to the previous part of the sentence.
Sample Of Thesis Statement On Gender Roles.
Using a thesis statement creator makes it possible to receive such a sentence:
- There are some expectations that we grow familiar as the times passes and they are regarded to be the gender roles. Basically, the gender role is what is convenient for a man or woman to do in society.
- You get it when explaining that, for example, what I believe on this matter is that it affects children and teenagers negatively because it puts pressure on them and creates a superiority relation between the genders in our society.
Sample Of Statement On Advertising
How to make one? To express your opinion even on advertising it is available with thesis statement generator free. Just look at the problem from different sides. Here we have:
- Advertising can be incredibly effective and powerful in promoting causes and beneficial products, while at the same time be negative for forcing ideas upon its audience. Advertising, despite its causes, is beneficial and necessary towards creating a stable and free-flowing society and economy.
Thus here we have a strong one and already positive and negative sides. They are significant in developing good text and picking up all the audience. By the way, if it is difficult to continue with the writing and thesis generator for the research paper didn’t give you a strong new one, because you can always choose buy a research paper at our website.
Sample Of Statement On Fake News
To form such kind of them also needs some efforts but if you are already little experience in this area it wouldn’t be quite difficult. Everything is about practice.
- We present new evidence on the role of false stories circulated on social media prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Drawing on audience data, archives of fact-checking websites, and results from a new online survey, we find: social media was an important but not dominant source of news in the run-up to the election.
This is a phrase we should work with. Having studied that we can claim that:
Exploring many reliable sources it turned out that presidential elections weren’t clear and even social media were accused of it.
Now you are acquainted much closer with statement generators of different kinds. We believe your life will become easier with its help and good grades expect for you soon. Thus, don’t give up on your writing, use smart technologies and make progress. You can much more than you are expected to do.
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- Knowledge Base
- What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples
What Is a Thesis? | Ultimate Guide & Examples
Published on September 14, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on July 18, 2023.
A thesis is a type of research paper based on your original research. It is usually submitted as the final step of a master’s program or a capstone to a bachelor’s degree.
Writing a thesis can be a daunting experience. Other than a dissertation , it is one of the longest pieces of writing students typically complete. It relies on your ability to conduct research from start to finish: choosing a relevant topic , crafting a proposal , designing your research , collecting data , developing a robust analysis, drawing strong conclusions , and writing concisely .
You can also download our full thesis template in the format of your choice below. Our template includes a ready-made table of contents , as well as guidance for what each chapter should include. It’s easy to make it your own, and can help you get started.
Download Word template Download Google Docs template
Table of contents
Thesis vs. thesis statement, how to structure a thesis, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your thesis, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about theses.
You may have heard the word thesis as a standalone term or as a component of academic writing called a thesis statement . Keep in mind that these are two very different things.
- A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay , and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay .
- A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to complete. It is generally a degree requirement for Master’s programs, and is also sometimes required to complete a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts colleges.
- In the US, a dissertation is generally written as a final step toward obtaining a PhD.
- In other countries (particularly the UK), a dissertation is generally written at the bachelor’s or master’s level.
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The final structure of your thesis depends on a variety of components, such as:
- Your discipline
- Your theoretical approach
Humanities theses are often structured more like a longer-form essay . Just like in an essay, you build an argument to support a central thesis.
In both hard and social sciences, theses typically include an introduction , literature review , methodology section , results section , discussion section , and conclusion section . These are each presented in their own dedicated section or chapter. In some cases, you might want to add an appendix .
We’ve compiled a list of thesis examples to help you get started.
- Example thesis #1: “Abolition, Africans, and Abstraction: the Influence of the ‘Noble Savage’ on British and French Antislavery Thought, 1787-1807” by Suchait Kahlon.
- Example thesis #2: “’A Starving Man Helping Another Starving Man’: UNRRA, India, and the Genesis of Global Relief, 1943-1947″ by Julian Saint Reiman.
- Example thesis #3: “An Introduction to Higher-Order Frames in Communication: How Controversial Organizations Maintain Legitimacy Over Time” by Kees Smeets
The very first page of your thesis contains all necessary identifying information, including:
- Your full title
- Your full name
- Your department
- Your institution and degree program
- Your submission date.
Sometimes the title page also includes your student ID, the name of your supervisor, or the university’s logo. Check out your university’s guidelines if you’re not sure.
Read more about title pages
The acknowledgements section is usually optional. Its main point is to allow you to thank everyone who helped you in your thesis journey, such as supervisors, friends, or family. You can also choose to write a preface , but it’s typically one or the other, not both.
Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces
An abstract is a short summary of your thesis. Usually a maximum of 300 words long, it’s should include brief descriptions of your research objectives , methods, results, and conclusions. Though it may seem short, it introduces your work to your audience, serving as a first impression of your thesis.
Read more about abstracts
A table of contents lists all of your sections, plus their corresponding page numbers and subheadings if you have them. This helps your reader seamlessly navigate your document.
Your table of contents should include all the major parts of your thesis. In particular, don’t forget the the appendices. If you used heading styles, it’s easy to generate an automatic table Microsoft Word.
Read more about tables of contents
While not mandatory, if you used a lot of tables and/or figures, it’s nice to include a list of them to help guide your reader. It’s also easy to generate one of these in Word: just use the “Insert Caption” feature.
Read more about lists of figures and tables
If you have used a lot of industry- or field-specific abbreviations in your thesis, you should include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations . This way, your readers can easily look up any meanings they aren’t familiar with.
Read more about lists of abbreviations
Relatedly, if you find yourself using a lot of very specialized or field-specific terms that may not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary . Alphabetize the terms you want to include with a brief definition.
Read more about glossaries
An introduction sets up the topic, purpose, and relevance of your thesis, as well as expectations for your reader. This should:
- Ground your research topic , sharing any background information your reader may need
- Define the scope of your work
- Introduce any existing research on your topic, situating your work within a broader problem or debate
- State your research question(s)
- Outline (briefly) how the remainder of your work will proceed
In other words, your introduction should clearly and concisely show your reader the “what, why, and how” of your research.
Read more about introductions
A literature review helps you gain a robust understanding of any extant academic work on your topic, encompassing:
- Selecting relevant sources
- Determining the credibility of your sources
- Critically evaluating each of your sources
- Drawing connections between sources, including any themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps
A literature review is not merely a summary of existing work. Rather, your literature review should ultimately lead to a clear justification for your own research, perhaps via:
- Addressing a gap in the literature
- Building on existing knowledge to draw new conclusions
- Exploring a new theoretical or methodological approach
- Introducing a new solution to an unresolved problem
- Definitively advocating for one side of a theoretical debate
Read more about literature reviews
Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework, but these are not the same thing. A theoretical framework defines and analyzes the concepts and theories that your research hinges on.
Read more about theoretical frameworks
Your methodology chapter shows your reader how you conducted your research. It should be written clearly and methodically, easily allowing your reader to critically assess the credibility of your argument. Furthermore, your methods section should convince your reader that your method was the best way to answer your research question.
A methodology section should generally include:
- Your overall approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative )
- Your research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
- Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment
- Any tools or materials you used (e.g., computer software)
- The data analysis methods you chose (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
- A strong, but not defensive justification of your methods
Read more about methodology sections
Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. These two sections work in tandem, but shouldn’t repeat each other. While your results section can include hypotheses or themes, don’t include any speculation or new arguments here.
Your results section should:
- State each (relevant) result with any (relevant) descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
- Explain how each result relates to the research question
- Determine whether the hypothesis was supported
Additional data (like raw numbers or interview transcripts ) can be included as an appendix . You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results.
Read more about results sections
Your discussion section is where you can interpret your results in detail. Did they meet your expectations? How well do they fit within the framework that you built? You can refer back to any relevant source material to situate your results within your field, but leave most of that analysis in your literature review.
For any unexpected results, offer explanations or alternative interpretations of your data.
Read more about discussion sections
Your thesis conclusion should concisely answer your main research question. It should leave your reader with an ultra-clear understanding of your central argument, and emphasize what your research specifically has contributed to your field.
Why does your research matter? What recommendations for future research do you have? Lastly, wrap up your work with any concluding remarks.
Read more about conclusions
In order to avoid plagiarism , don’t forget to include a full reference list at the end of your thesis, citing the sources that you used. Choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your thesis, taking note of the formatting requirements of each style.
Which style you choose is often set by your department or your field, but common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA.
Create APA citations Create MLA citations
In order to stay clear and concise, your thesis should include the most essential information needed to answer your research question. However, chances are you have many contributing documents, like interview transcripts or survey questions . These can be added as appendices , to save space in the main body.
Read more about appendices
Once you’re done writing, the next part of your editing process begins. Leave plenty of time for proofreading and editing prior to submission. Nothing looks worse than grammar mistakes or sloppy spelling errors!
Consider using a professional thesis editing service or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect.
Once you’ve submitted your final product, it’s common practice to have a thesis defense, an oral component of your finished work. This is scheduled by your advisor or committee, and usually entails a presentation and Q&A session.
After your defense , your committee will meet to determine if you deserve any departmental honors or accolades. However, keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality. If there are any serious issues with your work, these should be resolved with your advisor way before a defense.
If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or research bias, make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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- Halo effect
- Hindsight bias
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The conclusion of your thesis or dissertation shouldn’t take up more than 5–7% of your overall word count.
If you only used a few abbreviations in your thesis or dissertation , you don’t necessarily need to include a list of abbreviations .
If your abbreviations are numerous, or if you think they won’t be known to your audience, it’s never a bad idea to add one. They can also improve readability, minimizing confusion about abbreviations unfamiliar to your reader.
When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .
A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.
Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:
- Your anticipated title
- Your abstract
- Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)
A thesis is typically written by students finishing up a bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Some educational institutions, particularly in the liberal arts, have mandatory theses, but they are often not mandatory to graduate from bachelor’s degrees. It is more common for a thesis to be a graduation requirement from a Master’s degree.
Even if not mandatory, you may want to consider writing a thesis if you:
- Plan to attend graduate school soon
- Have a particular topic you’d like to study more in-depth
- Are considering a career in research
- Would like a capstone experience to tie up your academic experience
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Harvard President Resigns Plagiarism Allegations Followed Criticism of Response to Antisemitism
Claudine Gay, Harvard’s first Black president, faced mounting controversies. She had led the university since July.
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Jennifer Schuessler , Anemona Hartocollis , Michael Levenson and Alan Blinder
Here’s what to know about Claudine Gay’s resignation.
Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, announced her resignation on Tuesday, after her presidency had become engulfed in crisis over accusations of plagiarism and what some called her insufficient response to antisemitism on campus after the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.
In announcing she would step down immediately, Dr. Gay, Harvard’s first Black president and the second woman to lead the university, ended a turbulent tenure that began last July. She will have the shortest stint in office of any Harvard president since its founding in 1636.
Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will serve as interim president. Dr. Gay will remain a tenured professor of government and African and African American studies.
Dr. Gay became the second university president to resign in recent weeks, after she and the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and M.I.T. appeared in a Dec. 5 congressional hearing in which they appeared to evade the question of whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.
Penn’s president, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned four days after that hearing. Sally Kornbluth, M.I.T.’s president, has also faced calls for her resignation.
In a letter announcing her decision, Dr. Gay said that after consulting with members of the university’s governing body, the Harvard Corporation, “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”
At the same time, Dr. Gay, 53, defended her academic record and suggested that she was the target of highly personal and racist attacks.
“Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus,” she wrote.
Last year, the news of Dr. Gay’s appointment was widely seen as a breakthrough moment for the university. The daughter of Haitian immigrants and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she took office just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities.
She also became a major target of some powerful graduates like the billionaire investor William A. Ackman , who was concerned about antisemitism and suggested on social media last month that Harvard had only considered candidates for the presidency who met “the D.E.I. office’s criteria,” referring to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Gay’s resignation came after the latest plagiarism accusations against her were circulated in an unsigned complaint published on Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.
The complaint added to about 40 other plagiarism accusations that had already been circulated in the journal. The accusations raised questions about whether Harvard was holding its president to the same academic standards as its students.
Lawrence H. Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who resigned as Harvard president under pressure in 2006, suggested that Dr. Gay had made the right decision. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.
Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who leads the House committee that is investigating Harvard and other universities, said the inquiry would continue despite Dr. Gay’s resignation.
“There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Ms. Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader.”
On Harvard’s campus, some expressed deep dismay with what they described as a politically motivated campaign against Dr. Gay and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of faculty members had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.
“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”
Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.
Alison Frank Johnson, a history professor, said she “couldn’t be more dismayed.”
“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”
Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, before Harvard’s board met to discuss Dr. Gay’s future, after her disastrous testimony in the congressional hearing.
That evening, the conservative activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation.
The Washington Free Beacon followed with several articles detailing allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
In a statement on Dec. 12 saying that Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the accusations and said it had been made aware of them in late October. The board said it had conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”
Dr. Gay was already under pressure for what some had said was the university’s inadequate response to the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.
After initially remaining silent after student groups wrote an open letter saying that Israel was “entirely responsible” for the violence, Dr. Gay and other officials released a letter to the university community acknowledging “feelings of fear, sadness, anger and more.” After an outcry over what some considered the tepid language, Dr. Gay issued a more forceful statement condemning Hamas for “terrorist atrocities,” while urging people to use words that “illuminate and not inflame.”
At the congressional hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, pelted Dr. Gay and the other university presidents with hypothetical questions.
“At Harvard,” Ms. Stefanik asked Dr. Gay, “does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”
“It can be, depending on the context,” Dr. Gay replied.
That exchange, and a similar back and forth between Ms. Stefanik and Ms. Magill, rocketed across social media and infuriated many people with close ties to the universities.
Dr. Gay moved to contain the fallout with an apology in an interview that was published in The Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper. “When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” she said.
One week after her testimony, the Harvard Corporation issued a unanimous statement of support — after meeting late into the night — saying that it stood firmly behind her.
But there were signs that controversy might have harmed Harvard’s reputation. The number of students who applied this fall under the university’s early action program — giving them the possibility of an admissions decision in December instead of March — fell about 17 percent, the university said last month.
Reporting was contributed by Dana Goldstein , Rob Copeland , Annie Karni and Vimal Patel . Kirsten Noyes contributed research.
Serena Jampel, a 22-year old junior, had said in December that as a Jewish student, she did not consider critiques of Zionism on campus to be antisemitic. On Tuesday, she said she was “deeply saddened” by Claudine Gay’s resignation. “I believe that she was always trying to balance free speech and student safety, and never intended to cause harm.”
Harvard’s campus, currently between semesters, was quiet on Tuesday, despite the intense spotlight focused on the university. Several students and professors said they did not want to talk about Claudine Gay’s resignation. One faculty member chuckled and said he couldn’t comment because he doesn’t have tenure.
Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, the president of Harvard Chabad, has criticized a culture of antisemitism on campus, which he said predates Claudine Gay’s tenure. “The fact that it got more and more brazen with each passing day was the result of the lack of leadership addressing it,” he said, adding that he hopes the pressure that helped lead to Gay’s resignation will prompt other campus leaders to take action.
The resignation was welcomed by the Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance, which said it represents several thousand Jewish alumni. “Claudine Gay tacitly encouraged those who sought to spread hate at Harvard, where many Jews no longer feel safe to study, identify and fully participate in the Harvard community," the group said in a statement.
Harvard faced donor pressure and a drop in early admission applications.
College presidents are not only administrators and intellectual leaders; they are the chief fund-raisers for their institutions. And Claudine Gay’s loss of support among some Harvard donors may have played a key role in her resignation on Tuesday.
Harvard’s $50.7 billion endowment is immense by any measure — the largest academic nest egg in the country. Yet it has been underperforming financially in recent years, relative to some peers. Stanford’s endowment produced returns of 4.4 percent last year, for example, compared to returns of 2.9 percent for Harvard.
The endowment is run as a nonprofit with its own board of directors, but its members are appointed by the Harvard Corporation, the same body that selected Dr. Gay as the university’s president.
Given the concerns, the ability of Harvard’s president to raise money became even more crucial. Yet Dr. Gay’s credibility eroded this fall among some powerful donors , who criticized what they saw as a sluggish response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
“There is a large number of alumni who are very upset about how the administration handled this fall, and really worry the university is not set up to take outside feedback,” said Sam Lessin, a Harvard graduate and tech investor.
Some alumni donors were also dismayed to learn in recent days that early action applications to Harvard, with a Nov. 1 deadline, had dropped by 17 percent this year to a four-year low.
On Tuesday, Mr. Lessin published a statement on social media reacting to Dr. Gay’s resignation. “I am happy to see Gay out,” he wrote.
Randall Kennedy, a Harvard legal scholar and one of the university’s most prominent Black faculty members, has been a key supporter of Claudine Gay. On Tuesday, he said via text message, “I am saddened by the inability of a great university to defend itself against an alarmingly effective campaign of misinformation and intimidation.”
Alan M. Garber, Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.
Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.
The Harvard Corporation described Dr. Garber as “a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar” in a statement on Tuesday. “We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period,” the Corporation said.
Dr. Garber , who was appointed provost in 2011, has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and an M.D. from Stanford. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.
Lawrence H. Summers, a former Harvard president and former Treasury secretary, said in an email that Dr. Garber, “who is universally liked, admired, and respected, is a superb choice as interim president.”
In an interview with The Harvard Crimson in November, Dr. Garber said that he regretted the university’s initial statement in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. The statement was denounced by politicians, academics and Jewish groups who said that it did not condemn Hamas strongly enough, and he spoke positively about a more forceful statement that followed from Dr. Gay, which condemned Hamas for “terrorist atrocities.”
Dr. Garber added that the crisis over the university’s response to the war has been the most serious that Harvard has faced during his tenure as provost.
“The community was immediately divided, and that is not true of every crisis that we face,” he told The Crimson. “It is a combustible situation, and one in which many people are grieving.”
Dr. Garber was reportedly considered a contender to become Harvard’s 29th president, but in 2018 the post went to Lawrence S. Bacow . In 2022, Dr. Garber told the Crimson that he was “very happy” serving as the provost, and last year Dr. Gay became the university’s 30th president .
According to the Harvard Corporation, Dr. Garber will serve as president “until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office.”
Anemona Hartocollis contributed reporting.
Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, expressed disappointment in Claudine Gay's resignation in a statement to CNN , blaming a relentless campaign against her led by the financier Bill Ackman. “This is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling,” Sharpton said, adding that his organization, the National Action Network, would picket outside Ackman’s New York office on Thursday.
The Israel-Hamas war has inflamed free speech skirmishes on college campuses.
The recent ousters of two Ivy League university presidents — Elizabeth Magill, of the University of Pennsylvania, and, on Tuesday, Claudine Gay of Harvard — represented victories for those who believe that pro-Palestinian protesters have gone too far in their speech.
Some Jewish students say protest slogans like “intifada revolution” and “from the river to the sea” are antisemitic and threatening — and proof of a double standard. Universities, they say, have ignored their fears and pleas for security, while creating a battalion of administrators who are devoted to diversity and equity programs and are quick to protect their students.
If universities were engulfed before the Israel-Hamas war in debates over what kinds of speech were acceptable, now they are facing a crossroads, with many longtime observers of the campus speech skirmishes perceiving this moment as a dire one for freedom of expression.
The troubles of Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay, after all, did not start with the Dec. 5 congressional hearing, when they — as well as the president of M.I.T. — responded with what critics characterized as lawyerly answers when asked whether to punish students if they called for genocide.
For Ms. Magill, they began with a Palestinian writers’ conference that was held on campus in September. Donors to Penn asked her to cancel the event, which they said included antisemitic speakers, but she declined, citing the university’s commitment to free expression.
And Dr. Gay drew criticism barely two days after Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7, for not publicly condemning the attack or denouncing an open letter from student groups saying that they held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”
Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard who opposes cracking down on free expression, said that speech by itself, however ugly, should not be punished. But, he said, universities have not made the best case for themselves as champions of unfettered debate.
“The problem with the university presidents saying that calls for genocide are not punishable is that they have such a risible record of defending free speech in the past that they don’t have a leg to stand on,” Dr. Pinker said in an interview.
The question is what happens from here.
Stefanik, whose aggressive questioning of Gay went viral, claimed credit for her exit.
Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, whose questions during a congressional hearing last month put Dr. Claudine Gay and two other prominent university administrators on the spot about antisemitism on their campuses, took a victory lap Tuesday afternoon after Dr. Gay announced her resignation as president of Harvard University.
“TWO DOWN,” Ms. Stefanik crowed on social media, accented by three red siren emojis. Last month, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned just four days after she testified before Congress and evaded Ms. Stefanik’s aggressive line of questioning about whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.
The contentious exchanges between Ms. Stefanik and all three university presidents came at the tail end of a five-hour congressional hearing called by House Republicans on the rise of antisemitism on college campuses. The moment went viral, forcing the trio of presidents, including Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to clarify their responses and leading to a period of intense scrutiny on all three.
In Ms. Gay’s case, that prompted an examination of her past work that fueled plagiarism charges, ultimately causing her to step down on Tuesday.
Ms. Stefanik, the No. 4 Republican in the House, has counted the resignations as a political win.
“I will always deliver results,” Ms. Stefanik, a Harvard alumna, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Claudine Gay’s morally bankrupt answers to my questions made history as the most viewed congressional testimony in the history of the U.S. Congress.” Ms. Stefanik added that “this is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history.”
In an interview with Fox News Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Stefanik promised that an ongoing congressional investigation of the universities that she announced in the wake of the hearing would continue to uncover “institution rot.” And she again claimed credit for Dr. Gay’s resignation, arguing that “this accountability would not have happened were it not for the very clear moral questions at the hearing.”
Those questions almost did not happen. During the hearing, Ms. Stefanik had already tried four times to pin down the trio of administrators. She repeatedly tried and failed to get them to agree with her that calls for “intifada” and use of slogans such as “from the river to the sea” amounted to appeals for genocide against Jews that should not be tolerated on campuses.
They had parried her grilling with lawyerly answers that, on their own, might not have made international headlines. But then they fell into something of a prosecutorial trap laid by Ms. Stefanik, refusing to answer “yes” when she asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their universities’ codes of conduct on bullying and harassment.
“I thought, ‘How can I drill down on this and ask this question in such a way that the answer is an easy ‘yes?’ ”Ms. Stefanik said in an interview last month . “And they blew it.”
Ms. Stefanik, who graduated from Harvard in 2006, has clashed with her alma mater in the past. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, Harvard’s Institute of Politics removed Ms. Stefanik from its advisory board, citing her “public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence.”
Ms. Stefanik, a onetime moderate Republican who more than any other lawmaker in Congress represents to Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans the worst of what happened to the G.O.P. under the sway of Mr. Trump, at the time called her removal “a rite of passage and badge of honor.”
On Tuesday, one of Ms. Stefanik’s top advisers, Garrett Ventry, joked on social media that Ms. Stefanik was now the de facto president of Harvard University.
But she was hardly the only House Republican vying on Tuesday to claim credit for Ms. Gay’s resignation.
Representative John James, Republican of Michigan, shared on social media a clip of his own line of questioning during the hearing and wrote that Dr. Gay’s resignation came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat anti Semitism.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who heads a House committee investigating Harvard, said the inquiry would continue despite Claudine Gay's resignation. “There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader, and the committee’s oversight will continue.”
Many of the plagairism accusations against Claudine Gay were first published by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet. The site’s editor-in-chief, Eliana Johnson, said in an interview on Tuesday that Harvard officials had never responded to her reporters’ questions. “They are brittle and unused to scrutiny,” she said. “We have been able to have an impact despite their total lack of transparency.”
Some of Gay’s faculty supporters have argued that the allegations against her hold less weight because they originated from ideologically motivated critics and outlets, and have argued that the type of plagiarism she is accused of largely involved language on research methodologies and reviews — not her core, original findings. Johnson rejected those defenses. “Harvard is welcome to come out and say, ‘Our standards for plagiarism don’t apply to quantitative scholars — they’re allowed to copy words and phrases.’ But those are not the standards they’ve chosen to articulate for students or uphold for students.”
Larry Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who also resigned his Harvard presidency under pressure in 2006, suggested that Claudine Gay had done the right thing for the university. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.
Claudine Gay’s resignation puts new focus on Harvard’s secretive corporation, the governing board that appointed her. Led by Penny Pritzker, a billionaire and former Obama administration official, the corporation has been all but mum during the swirl of the past few months, and Pritzker did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Gay said in her resignation letter that she made her decision to step down “in consultation with members of the corporation,” but the corporation’s own subsequent statement made no mention of its role.
At least one Harvard professor is already calling for a shakeup of the board. Frank Laukien, a visiting scholar of chemistry, said Pritzker should “share accountability and resign immediately.” He wrote in an email: “We need multiple new independent members on the Harvard Corporation that are not tainted by recent events and failures, and who are not part of the long-standing cronyism at the top of Harvard.”
A history of the plagiarism allegations against Claudine Gay.
Claudine Gay’s resignation from Harvard came three weeks after plagiarism accusations against her emerged, an unexpected development in a turbulent stretch of presidency that began with her response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.
Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, the evening before Harvard’s board met to decide whether she would keep her job, following her disastrous appearance before a Congressional committee investigating the university’s response to antisemitism. That evening, the conservative education activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in her 1997 doctoral dissertation.
The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet, followed with several articles detailing numerous allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which Dr. Gay, a political scientist, is a member.
In its statement on Dec. 12 saying Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the allegations, which it said it had been made aware of in late October via an inquiry from The New York Post. The board said it had then conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”
The plagiarism allegations blindsided many faculty, including some of the more than 700 who had signed a letter urging the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing board, to “resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom,” including calls from external actors seeking Dr. Gay’s removal.
Initially, faculty reaction was mixed, with some saying the charges were serious and others calling the examples minor. Professors from both camps questioned the seemingly ideological nature of the effort to publicize them.
But as more allegations surfaced, faculty support for Dr. Gay began to erode, particularly as questions arose about what procedures the corporation — which normally has no involvement in scholarly matters — had used to investigate.
In a letter on Tuesday announcing her resignation, Dr. Gay, who remains a member of the faculty, defended her academic integrity, and said the campaign against her had been driven by “racial animus.”
“It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am,” she wrote.
It is unclear if her resignation will end any potential investigation into the complaints filed with the university.
Some politically active students said they were concerned that Claudine Gay’s resignation had been manipulated by outside forces. “Her resignation is a symptom of Harvard being almost entirely beholden to external pressure,” said Sanaa Kahloon, a junior and pro-Palestinian activist who added, “These allegations of plagiarism have been weaponized by right-wing actors to suppress free speech in higher education, and to continue to suppress free speech with respect to Palestine.”
Who is Claudine Gay?
Claudine Gay, 53, who resigned as Harvard’s president on Tuesday, took office in July, becoming the first Black president and the second woman to lead Harvard.
The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University — where she would later teach — and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.
Her career has mostly been in elite academia. Since the mid 2000s she has been a professor of government and African and African-American studies at Harvard, where her research interests have included minority representation and political participation in government.
Though allegations of plagiarism, dating back to her dissertation in 1997, surfaced publicly as Dr. Gay was engulfed in a political firestorm last month, she had in recent years moved away from academic research and into administration.
Before becoming president, she served in the high-profile role as dean of Harvard’s powerful Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The department, which includes both the university’s undergraduate program and its Ph.D. programs, is the largest of Harvard’s various divisions, with more than 1,000 faculty members.
Some colleagues saw her as a leader for the cultural moment: She helped drive a cluster of hires in ethnic studies , and oversaw several investigations into sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against faculty. She also led the department through the Covid-19 pandemic and remote learning.
But she was also seen as taking a hard line on matters of discipline, sometimes controversially.
In 2019, she issued a two-year, unpaid suspension to Roland G. Fryer, a star Black economist and recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, who was accused of unwelcome sexual conduct toward employees. His education research lab was also disbanded.
She also spoke out against Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a high-profile criminal defense attorney and Black law professor whose decision to represent the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2019 stirred controversy on campus . Professor Sullivan, who said at the time that representing unpopular defendants was a key tenet of the legal profession and an opportunity for conversation with students, was later removed from the student residential house he oversaw after the university conducted a “climate review” of his leadership in the house.
Dr. Gay, a supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, took the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.
She was selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations.
Penny Pritzker, the senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation who led the presidential search committee, praised Dr. Gay at the time for her “rare blend of incisiveness and inclusiveness,” bringing both a “bedrock commitment to free inquiry and expression, as well as a deep appreciation for the diverse voices and views that are the lifeblood of a university community.”
Some faculty members were disappointed by Gay’s resignation.
On Tuesday, some faculty members expressed deep dismay with what they described as a political campaign against Dr. Gay, Harvard and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of them had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.
“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican Congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”
Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.
“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a Corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”
Melani Cammett, a professor of international relations, said she hoped “that Harvard can move forward in a way that limits politicized interference.”
“I also hope that we move towards a position of institutional neutrality that truly protects academic freedom and integrity,” she said.
House Republicans were stepping over each other to claim credit for Claudine Gay’s resignation. While it was Rep. Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, whose questions during a Dec. 7 hearing led to the answers that ultimately helped topple two Ivy League administrators, Representative John James of Michigan shared a clip of his own line of inquiry on social media and wrote that Gay’s departure came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat antisemitism.”
Christopher Rufo, a conservative education activist who was among the first to widely publicize the plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay, took credit for her resignation in a post on social media: “My strategies, however unorthodox, have proven successful at exposing corruption, changing public opinion, and moving institutions."
Rep. Elise Stefanik, the New York Republican who led the most aggressive questioning of Claudine Gay during a Dec. 5 hearing on antisemitism, called the resignation “long overdue” in a social media post, adding that “our robust Congressional investigation will continue to move forward to expose the rot in our most 'prestigious' higher education institutions and deliver accountability to the American people.”
Alan M. Garber, a physician and economist who is the university’s provost, will serve as interim president. Harvard’s governing board said it would begin the search for a new president “in due course.”
The New York Times
A statement from Harvard’s governing board.
The following letter was signed by the Fellows of Harvard College, the university’s governing board.
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
With great sadness, we write in light of President Claudine Gay’s message announcing her intention to step down from the presidency and resume her faculty position at Harvard.
First and foremost, we thank President Gay for her deep and unwavering commitment to Harvard and to the pursuit of academic excellence. Throughout her long and distinguished leadership as Dean of Social Science then as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences — where she skillfully led the F.A.S. through the Covid-19 pandemic and pursued ambitious new academic initiatives in areas such as quantum science and inequality — she demonstrated the insight, decisiveness, and empathy that are her hallmark. She believes passionately in Harvard’s mission of education and research, and she cares profoundly about the people whose talents, ideas, and energy drive Harvard. She has devoted her career to an institution whose ideals and priorities she has worked tirelessly to advance, and we are grateful for the extraordinary contributions she has made — and will continue to make — as a leader, a teacher, a scholar, a mentor, and an inspiration to many.
We are also grateful to Alan M. Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, who has served with distinction in that role for the past 12 years — and who has agreed to serve as Interim President until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office. An economist and a physician, he is a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar with appointments at Harvard Medical School, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period.
These past several months have seen Harvard and higher education face a series of sustained and unprecedented challenges. In the face of escalating controversy and conflict, President Gay and the Fellows have sought to be guided by the best interests of the institution whose future progress and well-being we are together committed to uphold. Her own message conveying her intention to step down eloquently underscores what those who have worked with her have long known — her commitment to the institution and its mission is deep and selfless. It is with that overarching consideration in mind that we have accepted her resignation.
We do so with sorrow. While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks. While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls. We condemn such attacks in the strongest possible terms.
The search for a new president of the university will begin in due course. We will be in further touch about the process, which will include broad engagement and consultation with the Harvard community in the time ahead.
For today, we close by reiterating our gratitude to President Gay for her devoted service to Harvard, as well as to Provost Garber for his willingness to lead the university through the interim period to come. We also extend our thanks to all of you for your continuing commitment to Harvard’s vital educational and research mission — and to core values of excellence, inclusiveness, and free inquiry and expression. At a time when strife and division are so prevalent in our nation and our world, embracing and advancing that mission — in a spirit of common purpose — has never been more important. We live in difficult and troubling times, and formidable challenges lie ahead. May our community, with its long history of rising through change and through storm, find new ways to meet those challenges together, and to affirm Harvard’s commitment to generating knowledge, pursuing truth, and contributing through scholarship and education to a better world.
The Israel-Hamas war led to rising polarization on Harvard’s campus. Many Jewish students believed that Claudine Gay was slow to denounce the Oct. 7 atrocities by Hamas and to quell disruptive demonstrations. They reported increasing antisemitic taunts and were dismayed when Gay told a congressional committee that whether Harvard students would be punished for urging genocide against Jews would depend on the context.
Josh Kaplan, a sophomore majoring in computer science, welcomed Gay’s resignation. “It is the beginning of the rehabilitation our university needs. I, along with many other Harvard students, look forward to the next president working to repair the university’s image and combat the hateful antisemitism and bigotry we have seen on our campus.”
The reaction on Harvard’s campus was muted, since students are on winter break. But some heralded her resignation. “I think it is, if anything, too late,” said Alex Bernat, a junior, adding, “I’m glad she finally came to terms with the need for Harvard to have new leadership.”
Read Claudine Gay’s resignation letter.
It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president. This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries. But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.
It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career. My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis. Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.
I believe in the people of Harvard because I see in you the possibility and the promise of a better future. These last weeks have helped make clear the work we need to do to build that future — to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other’s dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth. I believe we have within us all that we need to heal from this period of tension and division and to emerge stronger. I had hoped with all my heart to lead us on that journey, in partnership with all of you. As I now return to the faculty, and to the scholarship and teaching that are the lifeblood of what we do, I pledge to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve.
When I became president, I considered myself particularly blessed by the opportunity to serve people from around the world who saw in my presidency a vision of Harvard that affirmed their sense of belonging — their sense that Harvard welcomes people of talent and promise, from every background imaginable, to learn from and grow with one another. To all of you, please know that those doors remain open, and Harvard will be stronger and better because they do.
As we welcome a new year and a new semester, I hope we can all look forward to brighter days. Sad as I am to be sending this message, my hopes for Harvard remain undimmed. When my brief presidency is remembered, I hope it will be seen as a moment of reawakening to the importance of striving to find our common humanity — and of not allowing rancor and vituperation to undermine the vital process of education. I trust we will all find ways, in this time of intense challenge and controversy, to recommit ourselves to the excellence, the openness, and the independence that are crucial to what our university stands for — and to our capacity to serve the world.
Sincerely, Claudine Gay
What to know about the latest plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay.
New plagiarism allegations that surfaced on Monday against Claudine Gay threatened to mire Harvard deeper in debate over what constitutes plagiarism and whether the university would hold its president and its students to the same standard.
The accusations were circulated through an unsigned complaint published Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.
The new complaint added additional accusations of plagiarism to about 40 that had already been circulated in the same way, apparently by the same accuser.
Dr. Gay has strongly defended her work. “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship,” she said in a statement on Dec. 11, when the initial plagiarism charges were being circulated by conservative activists online and the Harvard Corporation was considering whether she should remain as president. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards,” Dr. Gay said.
The documents by the unnamed accuser that The Free Beacon links to on its website show 39 examples in the first complaint, rising to 47 in total in the second complaint. Separately, Harvard’s investigations have found instances of inadequate citation in her dissertation and at least two of her articles.
She has not been accused of stealing big ideas, but rather of copying language in the papers of other scholars, with small changes to substitute words or phrases or to arrange them differently. Often the language in question is technical boilerplate.
The new complaint against Dr. Gay is preceded by a five-page chronology, written in a tone ranging from somber to sarcastic — under the jaunty salutation, “Happy New Year!” The chronology notes that the unnamed accuser submitted the first batch of allegations to Harvard on Dec. 19.
In one paragraph, the accuser, who seems to be familiar with Harvard’s policies on plagiarism, explains why he or she was unwilling to be identified by name: “I feared that Gay and Harvard would violate their policies, behave more like a cartel with a hedge fund attached than a university, and try to seek ‘immense’ damages from me and who knows what else.”
The New York Post has reported that it approached Harvard with plagiarism accusations against Dr. Gay in October, and said that Harvard responded through a defamation lawyer.
The accuser goes on to wonder why Harvard was so intent on exposing him or her: “Did Gay wish to personally thank me for helping her to improve her work even if I drove her harder than she wanted to be driven?”
The sentence is an allusion to a phrase in the acknowledgments of Dr. Gay’s 1997 dissertation, where she says that her family “drove me harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”
It is one of the phrases she is accused of copying, from the acknowledgments of a 1996 book, “Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation,” by the Harvard political scientist Jennifer L. Hochschild, who was thanking another academic.
A timeline of Claudine Gay’s tenure as president.
Claudine Gay had served as president of Harvard University only since July, but had faced criticism on two fronts: her response to rising tensions on campus over the Israel-Gaza war, and questions about possible plagiarism in her academic work.
On Tuesday, she resigned her position as president, writing in a letter to the university community that “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”
Dec. 15, 2022
Harvard University announces that Dr. Gay, the school’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will become president the following year. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she will be the university’s first Black leader and the second woman to hold the position. Dr. Gay received an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.
July 1, 2023
Dr. Gay, 53, officially begins in the job. A supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she takes the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.
The day after the Hamas attack on Israel, a coalition of more than 30 student groups at Harvard publishes an open letter, saying it holds “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” The letter receives intense backlash .
Dr. Gay and Harvard’s leadership come under fire for not publicly condemning the Hamas attack or denouncing the letter from the student groups. Amid rising pressure from alumni and donors, university leaders including Dr. Gay issue a statement expressing heartbreak over the death and destruction from the war while calling for “an environment of dialogue and empathy.”
Dr. Gay releases another letter , this time more forcefully condemning the “terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas," as well as denouncing the letter from the student groups. “While our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership,” she says in the letter.
A campaign targets students affiliated with the groups that signed the open letter. A truck with a digital billboard — paid for by a conservative group — circles Harvard Square, flashing students’ photos and names under the headline “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.” Dr. Gay releases another statement , this time in a video format, in which she states that Harvard rejects hate.
Harvard receives an inquiry from The New York Post about what it later describes as “anonymous allegations” of plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s work.
At a Sabbath dinner at Harvard Hillel, Dr. Gay announces the formation of an advisory group to help her “develop a robust strategy for confronting antisemitism on campus.” She also condemns the phrase “from the river to the sea,” a slogan that pro-Palestinian activists use as a call for liberation but that many Jews see as a call for violence against them.
According to the university, the Harvard Corporation appoints an independent panel of three experts on this day to conduct a review of Dr. Gay’s papers that were referenced in the anonymous allegations.
After coming under criticism for weeks over what detractors said were tepid responses to rising antisemitism on campus, Dr. Gay writes a letter to members of the larger Harvard community addressing the tensions. “Harvard rejects all forms of hate, and we are committed to addressing them,” she writes. “Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”
The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department announces an investigation into allegations of antisemitism at Harvard.
Dr. Gay, along with the presidents of M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania, testifies at a congressional hearing that House Republicans convened to address issues of bias against Jewish students. During the hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, asks: “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”
Dr. Gay replies, “It can be, depending on the context.” She adds: “Antisemitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct, and we do take action.”
Following heavy criticism of the presidents’ responses at the hearing, Dr. Gay apologizes in an interview with The Harvard Crimson , the campus newspaper. “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,” Dr. Gay says.
Allegations about plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation are publicly raised in a newsletter by the conservative activist Christopher Rufo.
A group of 14 faculty members begin circulating a petition opposing Dr. Gay’s removal . It quickly garners hundreds of signatures.
The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative media outlet, publishes its own investigation of Dr. Gay’s academic papers, identifying what it said were issues with four of them published between 1993 and 2017, including the doctoral dissertation.
Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, acknowledges that Dr. Gay had made mistakes but decides that she would remain in her job . In its statement, the Corporation briefly addresses the allegations about her scholarship. It says an independent inquiry investigated her published work and found two papers needing additional citations, but no “research misconduct.”
Facing mounting questions over possible plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s scholarly work, Harvard says that it found two additional instances of insufficient citation in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation — examples of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.” The university says Dr. Gay will update her dissertation correcting those instances.
That same day, a congressional committee investigating Harvard sends a letter to the university demanding all of its documentation and communications related to the allegations.
Faced with a new round of accusations over plagiarism in her scholarly work, Ms. Gay announces her resignation , becoming the second Ivy League leader to lose her job in recent weeks amid a firestorm intensified by their widely derided congressional testimony regarding antisemitism on campus.
Anemona Hartocollis , Sarah Mervosh , Jennifer Schuessler , Vimal Patel , Dana Goldstein , Jeremy W. Peters , Rob Copeland , and Stephanie Saul contributed reporting.
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the time when Harvard began an investigation about Dr. Gay’s work. It was Nov. 2, not in October.
An earlier version of this article contained a photo caption that misstated the organization that hosted the event at which Dr. Gay spoke. She spoke at a Sabbath dinner hosted by Harvard Chabad, not Harvard Hillel (though she also appeared at another event hosted by Harvard Hillel).
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