Harvard ‘nears deal to let under fire president Claudine Gay KEEP her job as board holds crunch talks late into the night

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Written By Maya Cantina

Harvard President Claudine Gay appears set to keep her job despite widespread outrage over her Congressional testimony and constant calls for her to be fired from leading the prestigious university.  

An official announcement on her status is expected Tuesday, but New York Times sources say she will remain in her role. 

Talks between Gay and university leaders stretched late into Monday, as the embattled leader has faced criticism for her comments on Capitol Hill and refusal to condemn antisemitic harassment on the campus in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel. 

Alumni, students and outsiders have blasted Gay and some claim the school has lost over $1billion in potential donations in the wake of her testimony. Megadonor Bill Ackerman has been among the most vocal champions for Gay’s removal. 

‘I have been told now by two reporters that one of the factors that made it challenging for the Harvard board to fire Gay was that they were concerned it would look like they were kowtowing to me,’ Ackman wrote Monday on X.

Under fire Harvard President Claudine Gay appears set to keep her job despite widespread outrage over her Congressional testimony refusing to properly condemn antisemitism on campus

‘In other words, the reporters explained, quoting the trustees: ‘Had Bill just stopped tweeting, we would have come to the right answer.’ So much for Veritas,’ he added, citing the Latin word for ‘truth’ and Harvard’s motto.

The weekend saw Gay surprisingly drum up support as over 640 Harvard faculty members signed a letter of support, urging the school to resist calls to fire her, describing the attacks against her as ‘politically motivated.’ 

On Monday, the Executive Committee of Harvard University’s Alumni Association announced their full support for the scholar, and asked the school’s governing boards to publicly back her, according to the Harvard Crimson. 

The group wrote: ‘President Gay is the right leader to guide the University during this challenging time… She is thoughtful. She is kind. She is resolutely dedicated to the growth and wellbeing of our very diverse community. We recognize that there was disappointment in her testimony this past week. President Gay has pointed this out and apologized for any pain her testimony caused–a powerful demonstration of her integrity, determination, and courage.’

However, a competing ‘no confidence’ letter demanding Gay’s resignation or firing was also gathering steam among students, alumni and staff over the weekend.

‘It is not appropriate for Claudine Gay to serve as President of Harvard, as she does not represent our collective values or the Harvard that we have come to know,’ that letter said. 

Outside public perception has been damning, with Ackman accusing Gay of ‘doing  more damage to Harvard’s reputation than anyone in the university’s history.’

Bill Ackman

Claudine Gay

Billionaire alumnus Bill Ackman (left) – who has led the charge against the president already helped secure the resignation of UPenn President Liz Magill – claimed in a post on X Tuesday that he’s the reason Gay (right), who now also faces accusations of plagiarism , won’t be sacked 

Talks were being held with the school's board of directors late into Monday night to find a way to allow Gay to stay on as president despite criticism

Talks were being held with the school’s board of directors late into Monday night to find a way to allow Gay to stay on as president despite criticism

The billionaire demanded the university’s board of directors review Gay’s credentials, including accusations of plagiarism, and of discriminating against those that don’t fit the look of woke Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices.

Gay, a professor of Government and of African and African-American Studies, was inaugurated as Harvard’s first black president in July. She has taken interest in DEI policies and created the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Ackman claimed ‘the actions of the OEDIB have led to preferences and favoritism for certain racial, gender, and LGBTQ+ groups at the expense of other groups, and made some members of the Harvard community feel included at the expense of others that are excluded.’

The billionaire was accused of racism when he suggested Gay had only been hired because she matched the DEI profile.

In his latest open letter, he said: ‘I was recently accused by several bloggers and other commentators of being a racist when I shared that the board, in the search process that led to the hiring of President Gay, would not consider a candidate for president that did not meet DEI criteria. 

Ackman also mentioned the case of former Winthrop House faculty dean Ronald Sullivan, who in 2019 accused Gay of dismissing him from his role because of his work on Harvey Weinstein’s defense team. 

The law professor, who was the first black dean of a Harvard school, accused Gay and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana of lying about their motives for dismissing him when they claimed it was because he fostered a toxic work environment.

‘The actions were cowardly and craven and Dean Gay and Dean Khurana just consistently and repeatedly lied to the student body and they know better,’ he said, according to The Harvard Crimson.

‘Their problem was that I represented an unpopular person… They said it to my face and other senior members said it to my face and then they turned around and lied to the student body.’

Harvard has denied the decision was because of Sullivan’s work with Weinstein, which sparked protests on campus. Sullivan remains a law professor at Harvard. 

Gay, 53, survived a scheduled meeting of Harvard's board on Sunday amid calls for her removal, but her future at the Ivy league institution remains uncertain after her disastrous congressional hearing

Gay, 53, survived a scheduled meeting of Harvard’s board on Sunday amid calls for her removal, but her future at the Ivy league institution remains uncertain after her disastrous congressional hearing

In his letter to the Harvard board, Ackman also cited Harvard’s plummeting in the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression College Free Speech Rankings since Gay took over. While the school has never been high on the list, it reached its worst-ever ranking, landing at the very last spot.

The foundation said: ‘Harvard completed its downward spiral in dramatic fashion, coming in dead last with the worst score ever: 0.00 out of a possible 100.00. This earns it the notorious distinction of being the only school ranked this year with an ‘Abysmal’ speech climate.’

Gay, UPenn’s Liz Magill and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth were summoned before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce last week by lawmakers concerned by reports of a rise in antisemitism at leading universities.

They faced heated questioning from committee chair Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) but failed to assert that calls for genocide against Jews on campus would definitively constitute harassment.

‘This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most ‘prestigious’ higher education institutions in America,’ Stefanik wrote on Saturday evening.

Adding: ‘Harvard and MIT, do the right thing. The world is watching.’

A billboard truck at Harvard University on Sunday demanding the removal of president Claudine Gay

A billboard truck at Harvard University on Sunday demanding the removal of president Claudine Gay

Gay apologized for her remarks as the backlash intensified, telling college newspaper The Crimson she ‘got caught up in what had become at that point, an extended, combative exchange about policies and procedures.’

‘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,’ she added.

UPenn’s Magill resigning from her role along with chair of the UPenn board of trustees, Scott Bok. Bok’s Vice Chair, Julie Beren Platt, has been named interim chair of the board.

In a statement issued Saturday evening Magill wrote: ‘It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution.

‘It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions.’

In his own resignation statement Bok defended Magill as a ‘good person’ who is ‘not the slightest bit anti-Semitic’ but had made a ‘misstep’ after ‘months of relentless external attacks.’

UPenn President Liz Magill resigned from her post on Saturday

UPenn President Liz Magill resigned from her post on Saturday 

MIT President Dr. Sally Kornbluth was also grilled for her school's response to protests. She too failed to outwardly condemn calls for the genocide of Jews

MIT President Dr. Sally Kornbluth was also grilled for her school’s response to protests. She too failed to outwardly condemn calls for the genocide of Jews 

MAUREEN CALLAHAN: This sneeringly out-of-touch sketch was as unfunny as the rancid antisemitism it excused – no wonder it died a well-deserved death. Now the terminally woke SNL should do the same 

This was the weekend ‘Saturday Night Live’, on life-support for years, well and truly died.

SNL’s most recent cold open, ostensibly mocking the congressional testimony of three presidents at America’s top universities — the smirkiest of whom, Liz Magill of UPenn, resigned in disgrace hours before airtime — took aim at the wrong target.

Incredibly, outrageously, they made Elise Stefanik, the Republican congresswoman whose expert questioning revealed the depths of tolerated antisemitism on college campuses, look like the village idiot.

No wonder SNL vet Cecily Strong, who played Stefanik in the dress rehearsal, pulled out after feeling ‘uncomfortable’ with the sketch.

Portrayed in the live show by newcomer Chloe Troast as shrill, unhinged, atonal, unstylish and dumb — you know, everything SNL thinks of their flyover audience — this Stefanik, in SNL’s alternate worldview, was on the wrong side of history.

You know, the same side that remains horrified by the October 7 attacks on Israel, the rape, torture and murder of hostages — including small children — and the antisemitism raging throughout America, endorsed by our woke elite.

This was the weekend 'Saturday Night Live', on life-support for years, well and truly died. SNL's most recent cold open, ostensibly mocking the congressional testimony of three presidents at America's top universities - the smirkiest of whom, Liz Magill of UPenn, resigned in disgrace hours before airtime - took aim at the wrong target.

This was the weekend ‘Saturday Night Live’, on life-support for years, well and truly died. SNL’s most recent cold open, ostensibly mocking the congressional testimony of three presidents at America’s top universities – the smirkiest of whom, Liz Magill of UPenn, resigned in disgrace hours before airtime – took aim at the wrong target.

Troast, as a screeching Stefanik: ‘Now I’m gonna start screaming questions at these women… Antisemitism: YEA or NEA!?!’

The real Stefanik, a Harvard graduate, was calm and composed. She asked those questions with the gravity they deserved.

But in SNL’s version, it was the spineless presidents of the Ivy League, who otherwise disallow free speech and disinvite speakers when black, gay, or trans communities voice concern, who were the real heroes here.

Yessssss or nooooooo‘, SNL’s Stefanik continued hysterically, mewling her words like a toddler. ‘Is calling for the genocide of Jews against the code of conduct for Harvard?’

That was supposed to be a punchline. But the live audience wasn’t laughing at this misogynistic grotesquerie.

No wonder SNL vet Cecily Strong (pictured), who played Stefanik in the dress rehearsal, pulled out after feeling 'uncomfortable' with the sketch.

No wonder SNL vet Cecily Strong (pictured), who played Stefanik in the dress rehearsal, pulled out after feeling ‘uncomfortable’ with the sketch.

One can imagine producers in the control room furiously trying to cue up canned laughter.

How wrong-headed this was. How out-of-touch with every American who was appalled by last week’s testimony.

That cohort includes a bipartisan majority of Congress, the White House, the vice president’s husband Doug Emhoff, billionaire Ivy league donors, and left-of-center columnists such as Maureen Dowd and Andrew Sullivan.

Yet still the sketch wrapped up with a congressional chairwoman stating that ‘this was all very useless’.

As comedy, yes — it was most definitely useless.

But, in what it tells us about the sorry state of SNL, it remains quite useful.

The buck stops with SNL’s creator Lorne Michaels who, at age 79, has held a vice-like grip on America’s longest-running satirical show for the better part of its 50 years.

If NBC would like SNL to see another 50, Michaels should be shown the door.

Michaels who, by the way, was born Lorne David Lipowitz on a kibbutz in Palestine, whose staff is largely composed of Ivy League grads, and who hasn’t generated a genuine megastar since Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers or Tina Fey.

Whose much-vaunted show hasn’t been relevant in decades. This latest flop is Exhibit A as to why.

Power corrupts. Michaels has had too much of it for too long. He seems more concerned with his famous friends and keeping his political heroes safe rather than skewering anyone who deserves it.

The buck stops with SNL's creator Lorne Michaels (pictured with Pete Davidson) who, at age 79, has held a vice-like grip on America's longest-running satirical show for the better part of its 50 years.

The buck stops with SNL’s creator Lorne Michaels (pictured with Pete Davidson) who, at age 79, has held a vice-like grip on America’s longest-running satirical show for the better part of its 50 years.

To be a good comic is akin to being a good journalist: You can’t want to be accepted by the people you cover. You can’t want to be one of them. You have to stand apart, keep your eye jaundiced, take to task any and all who deserve it.

And, at the risk of sounding ageist, Michaels represents a gerontocracy that refuses to make way for the next generation. Culturally and politically, America deserves better.

Consider all the wide-open targets SNL has ignored for many years now. Alec Baldwin, a good friend of Michaels who depicted Donald Trump on the show throughout his presidency, is totally off-limits.

Alec Baldwin! He’s a gold mine whose much-younger wife, Hilaria, is a white woman from Boston who’s faked being Spanish for years! Who went on the ‘Today’ show and mused, in her fake Spanish accent, ‘How you say… cucumber’?

Who, along with Alec, has played the victim as he still faces charges for accidentally shooting his cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, a young wife and mother, on the set of his movie ‘Rust’.

Trump and anyone on the right — skewer, fillet, repeat. Alec and Lorne’s other pets? Let’s not ruffle feathers.

SNL commits comedic malpractice constantly.

Where are the spoofs of Harry and Meghan? How can SNL leave that to Trey Parker and Matt Stone of ‘South Park’?

Perhaps because, as Page Six reported in February, Michaels came close to booking Harry as a guest host and, like a crushing teenage boy, still holds out hope.

Meanwhile, his writers’ room has surely been instructed to ignore the Netflix doc, Harry’s memoir ‘Spare’, Meghan’s ‘Mandela moment’ in her interview with The Cut, and the two-hour high-speed Manhattan car chase H&M claimed to have endured, in fear for their lives, a claim doubted publicly by New York’s own mayor Eric Adams.

You know, little stuff like that.

And for a show that still goes balls-to-the-wall on Trump, SNL gives Joe Biden and his scandal-scarred son Hunter the velvet glove treatment — if they’re depicted at all.

Indeed, as the world turned to condemn America’s most out-of-touch Ivy League presidents, the other blockbuster story breaking last week was the First Son’s nine-charge tax indictment that could see him face up to 17 years in jail.

But from SNL – silence.

Consider all the wide-open targets SNL has ignored for many years now. Alec Baldwin, a good friend of Michaels who depicted Donald Trump on the show throughout his presidency, is totally off-limits.

Consider all the wide-open targets SNL has ignored for many years now. Alec Baldwin, a good friend of Michaels who depicted Donald Trump on the show throughout his presidency, is totally off-limits.

And where are the spoofs of Harry and Meghan? How can SNL leave that to Trey Parker and Matt Stone of 'South Park'? Perhaps because, as Page Six reported in February, Michaels came close to booking Harry as a guest host and, like a crushing teenage boy, still holds out hope.

And where are the spoofs of Harry and Meghan? How can SNL leave that to Trey Parker and Matt Stone of ‘South Park’? Perhaps because, as Page Six reported in February, Michaels came close to booking Harry as a guest host and, like a crushing teenage boy, still holds out hope.

It wasn’t always like this. This show used to have teeth. It used to speak truth to power and influence fairly.

But somewhere along the way, Michaels began caring more about which super-celeb he was schmoozing with over dinner and being welcomed into every VIP room than actually doing his job.

Consider that for much of the 70s through the 90s, leaders of both political parties were fair game. Bill Murray mocked a post-Chappaquiddick Ted Kennedy, dashing onstage dripping wet, seaweed hanging from one ear, musing that he may have left wife Joan in his car, presumably underwater.

That sketch aired in 1979, as Kennedy challenged a fellow Democrat, the incumbent Jimmy Carter, for president.

In the mid-70s, Chevy Chase often made headlines for mocking President Gerald Ford’s penchant for falling down.

We haven’t so much as seen SNL’s Joe Biden trip up Air Force One.

Nor have we seen any mockery of Biden’s inability to speak extemporaneously, or to find his way off any given stage, or his attempts to shake hands with people who aren’t there.

If there’s one thing that kills comedy, it’s playing favorites.

The last time SNL really went after a Democratic superstar was decades ago.

With good cheer and real savagery, Bill Clinton was portrayed through the 90s as a glutton who snarfed McDonald’s, who told the nation that depositions in his sex scandal contained ‘good stuff… hot’, a horndog who warned America that their next president would be comparatively boring.

‘George W. Bush — here’s his scandal’, said Darrell Hammond’s note-perfect Clinton. ‘He was spoiled by his parents and he partied a little — 30 years ago. Big deal! Do you know what I did this morning?’

Huge laughs.

‘I mean, I don’t want to spoil it for you’, Hammond continued, ‘but it involved a Polaris missile full of heroin and the girl from ‘American Beauty’. Yes, yes it did.’

Alas, the SNL of today goes after only one side. Liberals, Democrats, and the woke far-left – the targets most in need of ridicule – are verboten.

But Michaels either can’t or won’t see it.

‘[The] first priority can’t be not offending people you like or who are powerful’, Michaels told the New York Times last year. ‘It’s the reverse’.

An America disgusted by this weekend’s sketch begs to differ.

It’s hard to believe that not one SNL cast member spoke up in the writers’ room or at dress rehearsal.

It’s hard to believe that script made it past NBC brass – executives, standards and practices, anyone with a shred of moral fiber.

Their inability to read the room at this most crucial moment – to side with a liberal elite that justifies antisemitism while mocking those horrified by it – means one thing: 

Just as this woefully unfunny sketch died a well-deserved death, now the terminally woke SNL should do the same.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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