January 2nd, 2024

By Elizabeth Crisp


Rep. Elise Stefanik, the New York Republican who chairs the House GOP conference and serves as the fourth in line in the majority party’s leadership ranks, took a victory lap as Harvard University President Claudine Gay announced her resignation Tuesday.

“TWO DOWN,” Stefanik posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, following Gay’s announcement. “Harvard knows that this long overdue forced resignation of the antisemitic plagiarist president is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history.”

Stefanik went on Fox News after Gay’s announcement, vowing to continue a congressional probe into colleges.

“I think the investigation is going to uncover much, much more,” she said. “These colleges get billions of taxpayer dollars.”

Stefanik, a Harvard graduate, challenged Gay during a hearing last month over concerns about rising antisemitic sentiments on college campuses amid the Israel-Hamas war, which started with the militant Palestinian group’s attack on Israeli civilians in October.

Gay, along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), faced blowback after they refrained from condemning anti-Jewish sentiment during an Education Committee hearing.

Penn’s then-President Elizabeth Magill stepped down just days after the hearing.

Gay emailed the Harvard community Tuesday announcing her plans to step down. She said that after “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

The Fellows of Harvard College, the top governing board at the university, initially stood by Gay and refused to remove her from the post, despite the backlash.

Stefanik had quizzed Gay on whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” would violate Harvard’s rules against bullying and harassment.

“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded, drawing strong rebuke from Stefanik.

In an interview with student newspaper The Harvard Crimson in the following days, Gay apologized, saying she understands that “words matter.”

After the hearing, Gay also faced allegations of plagiarism.

Stefanik, who took the lead on questioning the elite university leaders, sent out a press statement on Gay’s resignation, claiming victory in the fight.

“I will always deliver results,” Stefanik said. “The resignation of Harvard’s antisemitic plagiarist president is long overdue. Claudine Gay’s morally bankrupt answers to my questions made history as the most viewed Congressional testimony in the history of the U.S. Congress.

“Her answers were absolutely pathetic and devoid of the moral leadership and academic integrity required of the President of Harvard,” she continued. “This is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history.”

Other GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) praised Gay’s resignation Tuesday.

“This is the right move,” Biggs said in a post on X with a screenshot of The Harvard Crimson’s article on Gay’s resignation. “Our university leaders have gone full-on woke and harbor anti-Semitism on campuses. Many should step down.”


Read the article in The Hill here.