Republican Elise Stefanik claims credit for Harvard president’s resignation

Republican Elise Stefanik claims credit for Harvard president’s resignation

Republican representative Elise Stefanik claimed credit for the resignation of Harvard University president Claudine Gay on Tuesday, after she quit in the wake of a string of plagiarism accusations and an antisemitism row on the campus of the exclusive Ivy League university.

“I will always deliver results,” Ms Stefanik said in a press statement. “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 US Congress.”

Ms Stefanik was part of the committee that questioned the presidents of top US universities, including Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) about campus antisemitism and free speech.

At the time, her grilling of the university leaders mostly centred on protest chants referencing the Palestinian “intifada” and the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which Ms Stefanik interpreted as a call for genocide against Jews.

In a series of heated questions, the New York congresswoman had asked whether students who uttered the phrase would qualify as violating the universities’ code of conduct on bullying and harassment.

“That type of hateful speech is personally abhorrent to me,” Ms Gay had said but later emphasised that disciplinary action would depend “on the context” and that students’ words need to cross over into “conduct targeted at an individual” to qualify as bullying and harassment.

The first Black president of Harvard, Ms Gay quit on Tuesday just six months and two days into the job. “It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president. This is not a decision I came to easily,” she said in a statement.

“Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries.

“But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, 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.”

Meanwhile, appearing on Fox News, Ms Stefanik vowed 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.”

She also took to X to celebrate Ms Gay’s resignation, and to criticise the university.

“TWO DOWN,” she wrote. “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.”