Manhattan Institute senior fellow Chris Rufo explained in a recent op-ed how he “squeezed Harvard University” to oust Dr. Claudine Gay from her position as president of the Ivy League institution.

“The nation’s leading university had subordinated veritas to politics, compromising its mission,” Rufo declared in a Wednesday op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. “The only choice was to force Ms. Gay to step down.”

Rufo argued that Gay’s choice to resign as president of Harvard University, one of the most prestigious academic posts in the country, came as a result of an organized pressure campaign from conservatives and a general loss of public support for the diversity, equity and inclusion agenda. 


“The truth finally broke through,” Rufo wrote. “Ms. Gay was a scholar of not much distinction who climbed the ladder of diversity politics, built a DEI empire as a Harvard dean, and catered to the worst instincts of left-wing ideologues on campus.”

The Manhattan Institute-based political thinker gave two major causes of Gay’s downfall from the top spot at Harvard. 

“First, public support for DEI has cratered,” Rufo wrote. “Following the outpouring of sympathy on elite campuses for Hamas’s war of ‘decolonization’ against Israel, many Americans—including many center-left liberals—became aware of the ideological rot within academic institutions. They began to question the sweet-sounding euphemisms of DEI and examine what they mean in practice.”


“Second,” Rufo continued, the “political right has learned how to fight more effectively” against its enemies in the DEI bureaucracy. 

The “key” to putting the “squeeze” on entrenched institutions like Harvard, he claimed, is using “reputational, financial and political” points of “leverage.” 

He said that Gay’s resignation is “only the beginning” in the fight over America’s academic institutions. “The successful campaign to topple Harvard’s president is about much more than Claudine Gay. It is about the great conflict between truth and ideology, colorblindness and discrimination, good governance and failed leadership—a conflict that, if we are to preserve America’s core principles, conservatives must win.”

After resigning as Harvard president on Tuesday, Gay took to the New York Times to call out the “campaign” and “coordinated efforts” to attack her.

The guest essay, titled “What Just Happened at Harvard Is Bigger Than Me,” explained that the attempts to oust her since her congressional testimony were not efforts against her but against the institution of education itself. 

“As I depart, I must offer a few words of warning. The campaign against me was about more than one university and one leader. This was merely a single skirmish in a broader war to unravel public faith in pillars of American society,” Gay wrote Wednesday.

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.