Harvard Divinity School’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging recently held an event titled “Gathering to Breathe and Heal” to help students cope with the unexpected departure of former President Claudine Gay. The event, as announced in a newsletter by the office, was designed to facilitate conversation and healing around Gay’s resignation.
The event was not meant for discussions or debates, but rather to provide a supportive environment for expressing emotions. According to the newsletter, the gathering aimed to be a “container for holding emotions in community knowing that the circle holds us all.”
Claudine Gay was forced to step down from her position as president last month due to allegations of plagiarism in her academic works. This came at a time when she was already facing criticism for her handling of rising antisemitism on campus.
The school says many students are experiencing a sense of loss and grief tied to various factors, including personal issues, global unrest, natural disasters, and increased tension and division on campus. The newsletter acknowledged that for many, this feeling of loss extends to the resignation of Claudine Gay.
The event was overseen by Melissa Wood Bartholomew, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and Steph Gauchel, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. The office reaffirmed its commitment to address ongoing campus challenges through “a restorative justice approach rooted in indigeneity and operationalized through love.