And on X, Elon Musk argued that the basis of D.E.I. was “literally the definition of racism.”
Others are pushing back. The billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban challenged Musk in a series of posts on X, defending the three principles of D.E.I. as good for business:
On diversity, “Good businesses look where others don’t, to find the employees that will put your business in the best possible position to succeed.”
On equity, “Put your employees in a position to succeed. Recognize their differences and play to their strengths where ever possible.”
And on inclusion, “Great companies create environments that reduce unnecessary stress of their employees.”
Meanwhile, Gay defended herself and attacked her critics. In a Times Opinion guest essay, the former Harvard president writes that her ouster was about more than the plagiarism allegations against her. The bigger issue, she contends, is fear of generational and cultural change at top institutions:
Having now seen how quickly the truth can become a casualty amid controversy, I’d urge a broader caution: At tense moments, every one of us must be more skeptical than ever of the loudest and most extreme voices in our culture, however well organized or well connected they might be. Too often they are pursuing self-serving agendas that should be met with more questions and less credulity.
In other university news, Sally Kornbluth, M.I.T.’s president who also faces calls to resign, announced four focuses for the school, including better understanding of free speech on campus and ensuring the efficacy of D.E.I. programs. And Penny Pritzker, the head of Harvard’s governing body, is resisting calls to resign over the Gay controversy.
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING
Several associates of Jeffrey Epstein are mentioned in new documents. Released as part of a federal judge’s order, the documents identified people including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, the businessman Tom Pritzker and Prince Andrew of Britain, adding new context into the disgraced financier’s relationships over the years. (Neither Clinton nor Trump has been accused of committing crimes; Andrew settled a lawsuit by an accuser.) But the documents revealed few, if any, new smoking guns.
SpaceX illegally fired employees critical of Elon Musk, a regulator finds. Eight workers who had circulated a letter calling on the company to distance itself from Musk’s social media posts, were wrongly dismissed, according to the National Labor Relations Board. The case will head to an administrative judicial hearing in March.
Xerox will cut thousands of jobs. The company will lay off 15 percent of its global work force and name a new leadership team, as it pivots toward business services and away from its core line of selling photocopiers. Shares in Xerox fell more than 12 percent on Wednesday on the news.