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Amid Calls for Gay’s Resignation, Harvard Corporation Convenes for Scheduled Meeting

The Harvard Corporation, the University's highest governing board, meets in Loeb House.
The Harvard Corporation, the University's highest governing board, meets in Loeb House. By Julian J. Giordano
By Miles J. Herszenhorn and Claire Yuan, Crimson Staff Writers

Updated: December 10, 2023, at 3:36 p.m.

The Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers — the University’s governing bodies — convened on campus Sunday for a regularly scheduled meeting that comes five days after calls for President Claudine Gay to resign grew following her congressional testimony, according to a source close to the governing boards.

In a break between the board meetings, Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker ’81 did not answer repeated questions from The Crimson about whether she would ask Gay to step down, when approached by a reporter Sunday afternoon.

Pritzker, who is on campus for a meeting of the governing boards, ignored the questions as she and Shirley M. Tilghman — another member of the Corporation — entered a vehicle.

While the meeting of the Corporation and the Board of Overseers follows their ordinary timeline, the backdrop against which the convening takes place is nothing but extraordinary.

During the hearing before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Gay — alongside fellow witnesses University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill and MIT President Sally A. Kornbluth — repeatedly declined to directly answer a question from Rep. Elise M. Stefanik ’06 (R-N.Y.) about whether calls for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s policies on bullying and harassment.

The exchange with Stefanik went viral, and Magill resigned Saturday amid the backlash and pressure from UPenn’s board of trustees.

Gay, who had previously faced only a few isolated calls to resign from the presidency, has received mounting pressure to step down. On Friday, more than 70 members of Congress — including two Democrats — signed a letter to Harvard governance calling on Gay to resign.

The boards are expected to discuss the backlash to Gay’s testimony and make a decision on whether they should issue a public statement in support of the president they elected to lead Harvard less than one year ago.

While the Corporation has remained silent about the future of Gay’s tenure, an increasing number of Harvard faculty members have spoken up to express support for Gay.

—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at miles.herszenhorn@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @mherszenhorn or on Threads @mileshersz.

—Staff writer Claire Yuan can be reached at claire.yuan@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @claireyuan33.

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