House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik on Friday dismissed comments made by a Harvard University professor who suggested that the Ivy League school doesn’t need to cooperate with a congressional investigation, doubling down on lawmakers’ authority to probe the institution that’s “funded with billions of taxpayer dollars.”
The House Education and Workforce Committee has launched a probe into allegations of rampant antisemitism on Harvard’s campus and academic dishonesty on the part of the school’s president, Claudine Gay.
Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy told the New York Times Friday that his support for Gay is “unmoved” despite dozens of instances of alleged plagiarism by Gay uncovered by The Post –— including portions of her 1997 Ph.D. thesis.
Kennedy, 69, also suggested that Harvard leadership could decline to cooperate with the congressional probe if it finds lawmakers’ inquiries to be “bad faith efforts to harass, embarrass and intimidate.”
Stefanik, 39, told The Post that Kennedy’s argument doesn’t hold water given the “billions of taxpayer dollars” that fund the elite school.
“It is not up to Harvard professors or its board to determine where Congress’ attention should be focused or whether or not to comply with the LAW,” the New York Republican said in a statement. “Congress and the Committee on Education and the Workforce have the clear legal authority to make inquiry into the conduct of Harvard in relation to its handling of antisemitism on campus and how the University handles discipline against its students and faculty for plagiarism and other violations of the University’s code.
“Harvard is funded with billions of taxpayer dollars. That funding is a privilege and not a right, and Congress has every prerogative to make inquiry of Harvard and its senior officials as to whether it is worthy of that support, meeting its responsibilities under federal civil rights laws, and conducting itself in a manner consistent with its accreditation,” she continued.
“I strongly support Chairwoman [Virginia] Foxx’s investigation and it is required by law that Harvard University will cooperate fully and I call on them to immediately clarify that they will do so.”
By Harvard’s own admission, the school received some $1.94 billion in federal funding over the last three years – $625 million in 2021, $642 million in 2022, and $676 million in 2023 – according to the institution’s last three public financial reports.
The House Education and Workforce Committee said in a tweet Friday that it has a “constitutional duty to ensure higher education institutions follow the law and do not use the billions in taxpayer dollars they receive to create hotbeds of hatred.”
The committee warned that Kennedy’s comments to the New York Times are tantamount to suggesting that Harvard should obstruct the congressional panel’s investigation, a move that could result in “criminal referrals.”
“Harvard would be making a terrible mistake by turning its back on accountability at the advice of Randall Kennedy or anyone else,” the committee’s tweet stated. “Harvard’s leadership must understand that obstruction of a congressional investigation can result in contempt of Congress proceedings and even criminal referrals.”
The antisemitism investigation into Harvard was launched after Gay was hauled before the committee on Dec. 5 to testify about the treatment of Jewish students on Harvard’s campus, during which she was pressed by Stefanik about whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated the university’s codes of conduct related to bullying and harassment.
Gay said allowance for the speech would depend on “context,” refusing to give a yes-or-no answer and adding that the words only could warrant action if it rose to the level of bullying, harassment and intimidation.
House Republicans are also investigating the school’s handling of “credible allegations of plagiarism” against Gay and the university’s efforts to suppress inquiries from The Post about her scholarship.
House Education and Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx (R-NC) wrote a letter on Wednesday to Harvard Corporation senior fellow Penny Pritzker demanding internal documents and communications about the scandal.
Read the article on New York Post here.