March 4, 2024

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Wu, who attended Harvard, mentioned she was “saddened” by the saga that led to Homosexual’s resignation and cited racial bias as an element.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former Harvard President Claudine Homosexual at a groundbreaking ceremony in Allston on Nov. 1, 2023. Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu responded to the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Homosexual Wednesday, largely defending the previous chief of her alma mater. Wu mentioned that racial bias performed a job within the controversies that engulfed Homosexual, who’s Black, over the previous month. 

“I’m simply actually saddened by how the entire thing performed out,” Wu mentioned when requested about Homosexual’s resignation Wednesday morning throughout an look on the “Java with Jimmy” program. 

Homosexual resigned Tuesday, writing to members of the Harvard group that she had consulted with the board that governs the college earlier than making the choice. Homosexual mentioned she was stepping down in order that Harvard can “navigate this second of extraordinary problem with a give attention to the establishment relatively than any particular person.”

Homosexual was thrust into the nationwide highlight in early December after a congressional listening to the place she did not say unequivocally that requires the genocide of Jews on campus would violate Harvard’s conduct coverage. Homosexual testified alongside College of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and MIT President Sally Kornbluth in response to campus protests and studies of antisemitism growing as a result of Israel-Hamas warfare. Magill additionally resigned within the wake of the listening to. 

Homosexual later apologized, telling The Harvard Crimson that requires violence towards Jews or any non secular or ethnic group haven’t any place on campus. 

“She’s even personally mentioned that the phrases that had been utilized in totally different settings weren’t the most effective ones that would have been used,” Wu mentioned of Homosexual. “I feel anybody who’s able of management has a development curve and a studying curve, simply being a couple of months into a job like that takes loads. I don’t assume anybody is attempting to defend sure points of what occurred nevertheless it’s arduous to not put the entire image collectively, and to take a look at the dynamics of what occurred and the way personally this was primarily based, how a lot racial bias was undoubtedly related to this.”

Homosexual’s educational bona fides had been publicly referred to as into query final month after conservative activists and publications mentioned they discovered a number of situations of alleged plagiarism dedicated by her. Harvard reviewed the allegations and mentioned it discovered “examples of duplicative language with out acceptable attribution” in Homosexual’s 1997 doctoral dissertation. The college additionally discovered “insufficient quotation” in two of Homosexual’s printed educational articles.

“Nobody right here is defending plagiarism or antisemitism or no matter it’s that some people try to say that is about,” Wu advised host Jimmy Hills. “However once you take a look at who has been doing the pushing, and once you take a look at who has been producing the fixed, fixed media noise about it, it’s the exact same people who’re celebrating now that they’ve been attempting to do away with DEI in universities for some time now.”

Wu was referencing the efforts of conservative officers and pundits throughout the nation to remove variety, fairness, and inclusion applications in increased training. 

Wu, a 2007 graduate of Harvard School and a 2012 graduate of Harvard Legislation Faculty, spoke on the college’s Class Day in 2022. 

Final fall, rumors swirled that she was supplied a job at Harvard and was debating whether or not to step down earlier than her first time period as mayor ended. Wu responded by saying that there was “no likelihood” she would abandon the function of mayor. She is predicted to run for reelection, and can lay out priorities for the following yr throughout the annual state of the town deal with on Jan. 9. 

In her interview Wednesday, Wu acknowledged the media’s function in framing debates about free speech on campus and the way a lot fault lies with leaders like Homosexual. She additionally famous that leaders like herself and Homosexual know what they’re signing up for after they pursue outstanding, public-facing roles. 

She urged members of the general public to recollect that there’s “a human being and a household on the core of this” and mentioned that clips of Homosexual’s testimony ought to be thought-about in a wider context. 

“I do know no matter I say right here goes to get taken and attempt to be twisted out of context by sure individuals too, as a result of that’s the world we dwell in proper now. However I merely don’t imagine that three minutes of a video clip, particularly in a sure setting the place you’re in a spot the place individuals are placing you in a ‘gotcha’ second, that that ought to outline all the things,” Wu mentioned. 

Wu mentioned that she doesn’t know Homosexual effectively, however had interacted together with her a few instances. She was enthusiastic about Homosexual’s plans for the connection between Harvard and the town of Boston, in addition to Homosexual’s want to make Harvard extra inclusive. 

Wu and her workforce are conscious of an atmosphere the place “sure leaders and sure individuals” should face extra questions than others about something that they do, she mentioned.

“These of us who’ve come up have at all times needed to know how one can work twice as arduous, ten instances as arduous, simply to make it by way of,” she mentioned. “This begin to 2024 actually is an enormous reminder that these dynamics are entrenched and we nonetheless have loads in entrance of us.”