NYT: Penny Pritzker Called Harvard President Claudine Gay and Pressured Her to Resign

Chris Menahan
Jan. 07, 2024

Jewish American billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, who leads Harvard University's governing board, called Harvard President Claudine Gay in the wake of her "anti-Semitism" and plagiarism scandal and successfully pressured her to resign, according to a report from the New York Times.

From New York Times, "How Harvard's Board Broke Up With Claudine Gay":
Claudine Gay was in Rome on a family vacation on Dec. 27 when Penny Pritzker, the leader of Harvard University’s governing board, called to ask: Did she think there was a path forward with her as the school’s president

Ms. Pritzker sounded weary, and it was posed as an open question, two people with knowledge of the conversation said. But Dr. Gay understood what it meant. Her six-month tenure as Harvard’s president was over. On Jan. 2, she announced her resignation.

That marked the end of one of the most tumultuous periods in Harvard’s 387-year history, a controversy that thrust the school into the public debate after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent invasion of Gaza. Not only did the university’s president lose her job, but the secretive workings of its board, the Harvard Corporation, were laid bare.

[...] The corporation told Dr. Gay that its members wanted to actively help her heal the campus, which had been racked with protests that disrupted classes and left Jewish students feeling unsafe.

Along with the public declaration of support they offered on Dec. 12, the board members privately asked Dr. Gay to help come up with a plan to turn things around, two people with knowledge of the discussions said. Over the next week or so, Dr. Gay and her staff created a plan they called a “spring reset,” one of the people said. Come the new year, she would appear all over campus, hold office hours and express her empathy. There would be task forces to address antisemitism and Islamophobia.

But before Dr. Gay could send the board additional details, more trouble erupted. On Dec. 19, new allegations of more than 40 examples of plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s academic work emerged, first reported in conservative media outlets.
Zionists inundated her with death threats while Zionist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman led the charge for her ouster on X:
From the beginning of the crisis, Dr. Gay had been barraged not just with criticism and bad press but with death threats and racist messages and phone calls. As December went on, that grew more intense. Dr. Gay had moved into the Harvard president’s official residence only the month before, after renovations. The phone kept ringing, and when she picked it up she’d hear racial slurs before callers hung up. The police were monitoring the house 24 hours a day.

She was exhausted and scared. As the holidays approached, her husband and teenage son pressed her to go on a long-scheduled vacation to Rome. Desperate for a breather, Dr. Gay and her family flew out on Friday, Dec. 22.

[...] On Christmas Eve, William Ackman, a hedge fund manager and a vigorous opponent of Dr. Gay, posted on X that she had been asked to resign — which was not true at the time. He also revealed that she had hired outside lawyers — which was true. Newspaper articles about Dr. Gay and the board kept coming.

At this point, Dr. Gay was somewhat removed from the situation. She called Mr. Chenault from Rome at Christmastime, and he was sympathetic and supportive, a person familiar with the conversation said. She reached out to Ms. Pritzker on Christmas Day.

By then the board action had shifted from formal meetings to a flurry of phone calls and email discussions among small groups of members, with Ms. Pritzker guiding many of the conversations.

The board had been ground down by new allegations of plagiarism, the drumbeat of news articles, and the barrage of criticism and advice from influential strangers and loved ones.

For weeks, the focus of board conversations had been on finding a way to keep Dr. Gay and end the crisis on campus. But by the day after Christmas, that had changed, people briefed on the events said. The board members agreed that they were dealing with a crisis of leadership and that the best path forward for Harvard was without Dr. Gay in the president’s chair. Everyone agreed it was time for Ms. Pritzker to call her.

On that Dec. 27 phone call, Dr. Gay said she would resign. Ms. Pritzker gave her the weekend to sort out her exit, three people with knowledge of the conversation said. In subsequent phone calls, the two began to hammer out the terms of Dr. Gay’s departure, including what the Harvard Corporation’s and her statements should say and an agreement that she would remain on Harvard’s faculty.
Everything was fine and dandy when Gay was pushing DEI but they dropped her like a hot potato for not doing enough to censor criticism of Israel.

Gay was then swiftly replaced by Jewish Provost Alan Garber.

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