Harvard President Claudine Gay on Friday announced the creation of an advisory council to combat antisemitism on campus after weeks of intense criticism over the university’s response to the Israel-Hamas war that broke out on Oct. 7.
Gay delivered remarks at the Harvard Hillel Shabbat Dinner, saying that “we are witnessing a surge in anti-Jewish incidents and rhetoric across the nation — and on our own campus,” where she said that she has heard “story after story” of “Jewish students feeling increasingly uneasy or even threatened.”
“As president, I am committed to tackling this pernicious hatred with the urgency it demands,” Gay said in her remarks. “Antisemitism has a very long and shameful history at Harvard. For years, this University has done too little to confront its continuing presence. No longer.”
Gay said that a group of advisors including faculty, staff, alumni and religious leaders from the Jewish community will begin the “vital work of eradicating antisemitism from our community.”
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“In the weeks ahead, these advisors will work with me, Provost Garber, and the School deans to frame an agenda and strategy for combating antisemitism at Harvard,” Gay said.
Harvard has faced severe criticism since 34 student organizations signed a statement issued by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups that began by blaming the “Israeli regime” for “all unfolding violence” in the hours after the unprecedented attack.
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Gay initially released a brief message days after the attack, stating that she condemns Hamas’ attacks, but she did not explicitly denounce the student groups’ controversial opinion.
Following further criticism, Gay released a video message two days later saying that though the university does not “punish or sanction” people for expressing polarizing views, it does not mean that it endorses them.
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In the days following the university’s responses, a top law firm pulled job offers from students who are part of these student organizations, some prominent donors ended their relationships with the university and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan withdrew his offer to participate in Harvard’s fellowship programs.
Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.