What the most narcissistic resignation letter of all REALLY reveals: MAUREEN CALLAHAN


Claudine Gay may have resigned, but that doesn’t mean she’s sorry.

The resignation letter she released Tuesday afternoon is a doozy. Truly, it’s one for the books, lengthy and self-pitying and utterly shameless, signed by Gay herself — sans irony — as the sole author!

Really: Are we to believe she wrote this on her own?

Then again, this sayonara is so unoriginal, so predictable in its grievances, it’s quite possible.

Let’s start with the subject line: ‘Personal News’.

Is it? Is it really ‘personal news’ when you have been making national headlines for months and dragging the world’s top university down with you, first for failing to condemn antisemitism before Congress, then over well-founded accusations of plagiarism, then for a cover-up orchestrated on your behalf by Harvard Corporation, and then for six more instances of plagiarism emerging the morning of your resignation?

Most would agree that this story is bigger than Claudine Gay.

Except, that is, for Claudine Gay.

‘When I became president’, she writes, ‘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’.

Harvard Law graduated the first black American president decades ago. It’s fair to assume that top minds the world over aren’t applying to Harvard to feel ‘seen’ and ‘validated’.

If this resignation letter proves anything, it’s that Claudine Gay is an unoriginal thinker, a terrible writer, and a supremely unserious person. She was never up to this job, because in her mind, her race and gender were reason enough to deserve it.

The resignation letter she released Tuesday afternoon is a doozy. Truly, it's one for the books, lengthy and self-pitying and utterly shameless, signed by Gay herself — sans irony — as the sole author!

The resignation letter she released Tuesday afternoon is a doozy. Truly, it’s one for the books, lengthy and self-pitying and utterly shameless, signed by Gay herself — sans irony — as the sole author!

‘Frightening’, she writes, that for the past few months she has been ‘subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus’.

As if Gay hadn’t been protected so long by Harvard Corp precisely because of her race. As if other black scholars, Carol M. Swain and John McWhorter among them, hadn’t said that Gay needed to go.

To turn around and imply that racism is the animating force behind her resignation is beyond cynical. It’s narcissistic, self-serving and damaging.

There is not one iota of responsibility taken in this letter. Not one shred of remorse or sorrow for what she has put the institution through, for the board members who defended her, or for the $1 billion in endowments she lost during her short, disgraceful tenure.

Not one reference to the instances of plagiarism nor a heartfelt mea culpa to the scholars whose work she stole.

Not a single apology to Harvard’s Jewish students and faculty, who should never have had to abide a president telling Congress that on-campus calls for the genocide of Jews depended on ‘context’.

Oh no — there’s only one victim here, and it’s going to be America’s most insufferable sticky-fingered scholar.

Not a single apology to Harvard's Jewish students and faculty, who should never have had to abide a president telling Congress that on-campus calls for the genocide of Jews depended on 'context'. (Above) Antii-Israel protest on Harvard campus on October 14, 2023

Not a single apology to Harvard’s Jewish students and faculty, who should never have had to abide a president telling Congress that on-campus calls for the genocide of Jews depended on ‘context’. (Above) Antii-Israel protest on Harvard campus on October 14, 2023

‘This is not a decision I came to easily’, Gay writes.

Of course it wasn’t! Because it wasn’t a decision she came to.

Does anyone really believe that Gay decided to leave a $1.3 million gig — for which she was completely unqualified — on her own? That Harvard Corp wasn’t pressured by billionaire donors withdrawing their funds and calling for the board to go, too? Or that editors at the Harvard Crimson calling, just days ago, for Gay’s resignation had no effect?

Spare us. Gay held on until she was pushed.

‘Indeed’, she writes here, stepping down ‘has been difficult beyond words’.

That’s a telling turn of phrase for a plagiarist. Anyone whose job description is predicated on writing, on authorship, would never say they couldn’t find the words to express themselves.

That’s what writing is. But the delusion is strong with Claudine Gay.

‘Amidst all of this’, she writes, ‘it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate’ — is she for real? — ‘and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am’ . . .

Did no one proofread this letter? Is there no one in this woman’s life who can have an honest reckoning with her?

Claudine Gay is like the Norma Desmond of academia, convinced she’s a genius and a guardian of the oppressed who has nonetheless become a victim.

Gay sees herself as just too good and pure to survive, too much a beacon of hope, intellectualism, equality and, yes, honesty.

If this resignation letter proves anything, it's that Claudine Gay is an unoriginal thinker, a terrible writer, and a supremely unserious person. She was never up to this job, because in her mind, her race and gender were reason enough to deserve it.

If this resignation letter proves anything, it’s that Claudine Gay is an unoriginal thinker, a terrible writer, and a supremely unserious person. She was never up to this job, because in her mind, her race and gender were reason enough to deserve it.

Oh no — there's only one victim here, and it's going to be America's most insufferable sticky-fingered scholar.

Oh no — there’s only one victim here, and it’s going to be America’s most insufferable sticky-fingered scholar.

If this were parody, I’d say we all underestimated Claudine Gay as a writer.

Alas, she is humorless.

‘These last weeks’, she writes, ‘have helped make clear the work we need to do . . . to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth.’

Ah yes, I can see it now: ‘The Pursuit of Truth: The Claudine Gay Story’. The movie adaptation writes itself!

God, does she drone on. This letter is so myopic, so laden with the gobbledygook specific to DEI and self-help adherents that one could easily lose sight of her sins: Gay failed to defend Jews on campus, stole from other scholars, and refused long ago — hell, over a holiday week when no one was paying attention — to do the only honorable thing and resign.

‘I believe that we have within us all that we need to heal from this period of tension and division’ — ‘this period’, of course, caused only by her cowardice and evasiveness, a wholly avoidable disaster of her own making — ‘and to emerge stronger’.

Students and faculty of Harvard: Lest you worry, you have not seen the last of Claudine Gay! She may be resigning as president, but this lesser light has decided to stay on and teach.

Harvard, it seems, has learned nothing.

‘I pledge’, she writes, ‘to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve’.

Wonder how the students of Harvard feel about that.



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