Why Former Harvard President Claudine Gay Needed 24-Hour Guard

She was the target of death threats and racist attacks as a campaign for her termination gained momentum.

In her brief tenure as the first Black president of Harvard University, Dr. Claudine Gay received so many death threats that she required a 24/7 security detail.

According to Business Insider, citing The New York Times, Gay was targeted with racist notes and racially charged phone calls. She recalled several times picking up the phone and being called racial slurs.

For her and her family’s protection, Gay’s home was guarded around the clock by local law enforcement.

According to a report by the New York Times, she was the target not only of criticism after allegations of plagiarism and improper response to antisemitism on campus but also death threats only a month after moving into the presidential residence. The threats prompted 24-hour surveillance 

Barely six months after being appointed as president, Gay resigned from her position on Jan. 2, which ended up being the shortest tenure in the university's almost 400-year history.

"After consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual," her resignation read.

Gay first received harsh criticism after giving a controversial testimony at a Capitol Hill hearing on antisemitism on college campuses as well as being accused of plagiarism for her academic work.

Dr. Claudine Gay is now the former president of Harvard University.

Harvard University President Claudine Gay Resigns

Dr. Ryan D. Enos, a Professor of Government at Harvard expressed his disappointment with Gay’s resignation and the treatment she received.

"I think it sends a message to the public that universities in the United States can be bullied and attacked for political reasons," Enos said. "This was the university caving to a mob."

One of the most prominent critics of Gay was billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who led the campaign that lobbied for her termination.

Taking to X formerly Twitter, described DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.) programs as misguided because they seek to achieve "equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity."

In response to Ackman’s assault on DEI and Gay’s abrupt resignation, Rev. Al Sharpton and his organization National Action Network organized a protest in front of the billionaire’s office in New York City to shed light on the hedge fund managers' views and remarks.

“This issue is not just about what they did to the president of Harvard University. It’s about the use [of her] as a scapegoat to fight DEI,” Sharpton said at the demonstration. “We would not have to have DEI if we wouldn't have D-E-N-Y. We were denied. DEI was to make up for the denial historically of Blacks, of women, of gays, Latinos, and Asians.”

The representatives of NAN also stated their intentions to protest in front of Ackman’s offices each Thursday and are encouraging others to join them.

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