Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) blasted Harvard University for not demanding the resignation of university president Claudine Gay immediately after her controversial testimony during a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism last month.
“My question was very simple. It was a moral question because calling for the genocide of Jews can ruin your schools code of conduct is go against your school’s code of conduct and every single one said it depended upon the context,” Stefanik said on Fox News’ “Hannity” Tuesday night.
“We know it does not depend on the context, it should be condemned. It is not that difficult to say that. Yet, all three failed abysmally, and the world saw it. It is unacceptable that it took Harvard a month to demand the resignation of Claudine Gay.”
Gay sent an email announcing her resignation to the school community on Tuesday, saying “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.”
Gay faced mounting controversies, both about her handling of the school’s response to alleged on-campus antisemitism amid the Israel-Hamas war, and allegations of plagiarism throughout her own academic career.
Stefanik had pressed Gay and the university presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the hearing last month on whether calling for the genocide of Jewish people would be considered harassment on their campuses.
Gay, along with the other two university leaders, suggested it would depend on the context. Just days after the hearing, the Penn’s president, Liz Magill, resigned over the criticism over her response.
Stefanik took a victory lap over the news of Gay’s resignation on social media and cable news shows on Tuesday. She also slammed Gay over the allegations of plagiarism she is facing on “Hannity.”
“And then on top of this, you’ve seen just the shredding of academic integrity in Harvard’s case, where it was very clear with this intense scrutiny that Claudine Gay was a plagiarist president, that she had plagiarized nearly 50 excerpts in her work, which is a very limited body of academic work when compared to other Harvard university presidents,” Stefanik said.
“And I say this as a Harvard graduate, I graduated from there from undergrad with honors and I will tell you: Students, if you plagiarize, you are expelled,” she said.
The Hill has reached out to Harvard for comment on Stefanik’s comments.
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