Hundreds of Harvard University faculty members have signed a letter asking administrators to resist calls to remove President Claudine Gay from her position. The news comes as she has been embroiled in controversy surrounding a congressional hearing about antisemitism on campus.

“We, the undersigned faculty, urge you in the strong possible terms to defend the independence of the university and to resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom, including calls for the removal of President Claudine Gay,” the letter read, according to NBC News. “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.”

History professor Alison Frank Johnson told the news outlet that 664 people have signed the letter so far. 

Gay was asked about antisemitism on campus during a Tuesday congressional hearing that included other university presidents, including Liz Magill from the University of Pennsylvania and Sally Kornbluth from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Republican Representative for New York Elise Stefanik asked questions about whether students calling for the genocide of Jewish people should be punished. UPenn’s Magill resigned following the hearing.

“That type of hateful speech is personally abhorrent to me,” Gay said, adding that it is “at odds with the values of Harvard.”

“Can you not say here that it is against the code of conduct at Harvard?” Stefanik followed up.

Harvard’s president replied that it depends on the context, which led to calls for her to resign.

“We embrace a commitment to free expression even of views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful — it’s when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our policies against bullying, harassment, intimidation,” Gay said.

She later apologized for her comments.

“I am sorry,” Gay told The Harvard Crimson on Thursday. “Words matter.”

“When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” she added.

Harvard economics professor Jason Furman took her defense on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“I really hope we don’t let donors and politicians dictate who leads our school,” he tweeted. “Claudine Gay denounced calling for genocide before the hearing. She denounced it in the hearing. And she denounced it after the hearing.”