Claudine Gay, the departing president of Harvard University, is set to continue her academic tenure at the esteemed institution despite stepping down from her leadership role amidst controversies. Gay, who served as Harvard’s president for six months, will resume her faculty duties, where she previously held a dean’s position within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
During her previous role as a dean in 2021, Gay earned a reported salary of $879,079, and $824,068 in 2020, indicating her compensation as a faculty member remains substantial. Although details of her new faculty position were not disclosed, expectations suggest her remuneration would align with, or possibly exceed, her past earnings.
The conditions of her presidential salary, which was approximately $1 million, remain uncertain given her brief tenure as Harvard’s president. Lawrence Bacow, her predecessor, had an annual earning of $1.3 million, as reported by the university’s newspaper.
In the interim, Harvard has appointed Alan M. Garber, the current provost, to oversee the presidential responsibilities until a permanent replacement is found. The move to retain Gay in a faculty role has been met with criticism, particularly from House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, a Harvard alumna. Stefanik has voiced strong opposition to Gay’s continued association with Harvard, citing ethical concerns over plagiarism accusations.
The student body has echoed similar sentiments, pointing to what they perceive as a disparity in the university’s ethical standards for faculty versus students, with some suggesting that faculty appear to face less stringent consequences for similar infractions.
The turmoil surrounding Gay’s presidency arose from several contentious incidents, including her response to the university’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict and her handling of antisemitism and academic integrity issues. These events have sparked discussions about potential changes to the board that supported her until her resignation.
Despite the controversies, Gay is set to transition back to academia, expressing a desire to refocus on scholarship and teaching. Her departure from Harvard’s presidency, however, has prompted broader debates about governance and accountability within one of the world’s leading educational institutions.