The Network of enlightened Women, known as NeW, is an organization that works with conservative college women on campus. I founded it as I saw firsthand how isolated conservative young women were on campus when I was a student at the University of Virginia. That has changed today thanks to efforts like NeW, but there is still work to be done. Thankfully, the congressional testimony of the presidents of three of the most well-known elite schools in America has spotlighted the double-standard and woke culture in academia.
I regularly talk with college women about their concerns, two of which are still the lack of accountability for administrators on campus and the woke culture taking over campus.
I am lending my platform to the voice of young women who have navigated academia in today’s age, day-in and day-out, to give a sense of what Harvard President Claudine Gay’s resignation means to them.
Cameron Teel, NeW chapter president at the University of Arizona, shared, “Claudine Gay’s resignation underscores a concerning pattern in higher education, where universities prioritize projecting an image of academic excellence and equality rather than truly achieving these ideals.”
Natalie Goodnow, a Harvard Kennedy School alumna, told me, “Claudine Gay’s resignation was overdue. Students were beginning to question the standards of academic rigor that a university like Harvard is supposed to protect. It is only appropriate that a university hold its president to the same — if not higher — standards as its students. The leadership of a school should set a stellar example of integrity. Disappointingly, it seems Dr. Gay was not able to meet the same academic requirements set for the Harvard students she was supposed to lead. It is unfortunate she can remain as a professor. It would have been disastrous had she remained Harvard’s president.”
Cameron and Natalie are right that there is a disconnect between what Harvard claims and its actions.
And Gay certainly lacked leadership. Adelaide Bradley, NeW President at Washington State University Vancouver, told me, “The resignation of Harvard’s president prompts contemplation about how leadership informs higher education.”
Maura Schlee, a second year law student at Catholic University of America, said, “The resignation of the president of Harvard is a step in the right direction, but there is still so much work that needs to be done on university campuses. We need leadership that reflects a variety of opinions and beliefs on campuses in order to protect students and the quality of college education.
Part of the problem is the proliferation of woke culture on campus. Julia Canzano, a recent graduate of Boston College, shared, “Claudine Gay is just one example of the institutional rot that DEI has brought to higher education. This whole episode will likely be quickly forgotten, but her resignation is just one of the first steps in restoring American colleges and universities to places where ideas can be openly and frequently challenged, students can become leaders with a strong moral code, and merit is more important than who you are and what you look like.”
These students lacked the same protection as Gay. They lived with the repercussions of speaking out against any issue that is not in line with what the majority thinks. The story behind Gay’s resignation gives me hope that more people will become aware of the campus atmosphere and demand change. It’s also a cry for more accountability and transparency on campus and less DEI and woke progressivism.
Karin A. Lips is the founder and president of the Network of enlightened Women and a senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum. She is the author of You’re Not Alone: The Conservative Woman’s Guide to College. Follow her on Instagram at @karin.lips or X at @klips.