Following her appalling appearance before a Congressional education committee, former Harvard President Claudine Gay refused to leave her post, as she faced accusations of antisemitism and plagiarism. Finally, on January 2, 2024, after nearly a month of clinging to her position, Gay resigned. Her term was the shortest in Harvard’s history.

Here are five key takeaways from Claudine Gay’s resignation.

Freedom of Speech Only Matters When it Fits the Agenda

In a study conducted by College Pulse and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Harvard ranked last among 248 United States colleges regarding freedom of speech on campus. Yet, in her appearance before Congress, Gay repeatedly cited freedom of speech as a primary reason why she wouldn’t discipline students calling for the genocide of the Jewish population around the world. Her resignation is a massive win for actual freedom of speech, religious freedom, and people with an ounce of sanity.

DEI and Affirmative Action Fail Again

Gay has partially blamed racism for the effort to have her removed from the Presidency. But racism was not the issue. The system that got her appointed in the first place is the real problem. Harvard, in an effort to name their first Black President, chose an unqualified person who checked boxes that they felt would make them look good in the public eye. That failed spectacularly. Maybe next time, they will choose someone who deserves the position.

Elite Institutions Are Not Better Than the Public

Elitism is a serious issue in Ivy League communities. Because of Harvard’s incredible history since its founding, they have been looked at as a paragon of higher education. After a tenuous few years culminating with Gay’s resignation, the public does not feel that way anymore. Can Harvard, Penn, and other elite institutions gain back public trust or will the public continue to laugh off these once prestigious Universities?

Accountability is Finally Here in America

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became too easy for Americans to point the finger at others and blame them for their actions. The person not wearing a mask was responsible for you getting COVID, even though you willingly went to a restaurant or took an Uber. However, we’ve seen a shift to personal responsibility and accountability in recent months, and that could shape the future of America for the better. For too long, higher education has created a divide in this country with no repercussions. Yet between the resignations of Gay and Penn’s Liz Magill, it is clear that the public is tired of the double standard. If MIT’s Sally Kornbluth resigns soon, that will be a huge win for accountability.