CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Hundreds of university faculty members, hundreds of Black alumni and the executive committee of Harvard University’s alumni association have now voiced their support for embattled Harvard President Claudine Gay.

Gay is facing growing calls to resign following her testimony on antisemitism on Capitol Hill last week. As of Monday, though, more than 700 faculty members had signed a petition to keep her on the job. 

More than 800 Black alumni additionally announced they are backing Gay.

Late Monday afternoon, the alumni association’s executive committee expressed its unanimous support in a letter to school officials.

“President Gay is the right leader to guide the University during this challenging time,” the committee said. “She is thoughtful. She is kind. She is resolutely dedicated to the growth and wellbeing of our very diverse community.”

“People are mad,” said Dr. Sarah Johnstone, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. “If they fire her, Harvard faculty may leave.” 

Johnstone continued, discussing the faculty letter backing Gay. 

“I think it’s signed by people that oppose outside interests making big decisions at Harvard,” she said.

Gay testified in Congress last week alongside the presidents of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania in a hearing about antisemitism on college campuses. During that hearing, Gay struggled to answer questions about whether calls for genocide against Jewish people would violate Harvard’s code of conduct.

“Can you not say here that it is against the code of conduct at Harvard?” asked Congresswoman Elise Stefanik in one exchange.

“We embrace a commitment to free expression — even of views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful,” Gay said.

Gay has since apologized. But at least 70 members of Congress as well as major donors and prominent leaders have called for her to resign. 

Elsewhere, University of Pennsylvania’s President Liz Magill stepped down from her role over the weekend in the wake of last week’s hearing.

Back in Cambridge, on Monday, a plane flew over campus carrying a banner that read “Harvard — stop Jew hatred.” The display came after planes last week towed signs saying “Harvard hates Jews.” 

It is unclear who is behind the effort involving the planes and banners. Harvard Hillel rabbi Getzel Davis, though, said antisemitism is a problem on campus that needs attention. 

“Jewish students at Harvard feel intimidated,” Davis said. “They feel harassed. They feel isolated.”

Davis shared a photo from an interfaith vigil on Friday where students of all religions could pray for each other. Gay attended and was partially visible in the photo Davis shared. 

“I think the president is important,” Davis said. “But the culture on campus is much bigger than one person.”

The signed faculty letter supporting Gay was addressed to the president and fellows of Harvard College. The letter, in part, urged officials “to defend the independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom.” 

“The critical work of defending a culture of free inquiry in our diverse community cannot proceed if we let its shape be dictated by outside forces,” the letter continued. 

Harvard’s governing board met again on Monday after previously meeting over the weekend. There was no update as of 5 p.m. on any decision related to Gay. 

7NEWS reached out to Harvard about recent meetings and the status of its president but did not immediately hear back.

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