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House Passes Bipartisan Resolution Calling for Harvard President Claudine Gay’s Resignation

Rep. Elise M. Stefanik '06 (R-N.Y.) authored the resolution calling for President Claudine Gay's resignation that passed in the House on Wednesday.
Rep. Elise M. Stefanik '06 (R-N.Y.) authored the resolution calling for President Claudine Gay's resignation that passed in the House on Wednesday. By Miles J. Herszenhorn
By Sophia C. Scott, Crimson Staff Writer

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution Wednesday calling for the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay in light of her controversial congressional testimony on campus antisemitism last week.

The measure, which was adopted in a 303-126 vote, also requests the resignation of MIT President Sally A. Kornbluth, who testified at last week’s hearing alongside Gay and University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill.

A Harvard spokesperson declined to comment on the passage of the House resolution.

Magill resigned on Saturday in the wake of backlash to her remarks, but Gay and Kornbluth still remain in office. “One down. Two to go,” Stefanik wrote in a post on X in the wake of Magill’s resignation.

However, the Harvard Corporation — the University’s highest governing body — broke its silence Tuesday morning and publicly backed Gay, saying they “unanimously stand in support” of her presidency. MIT’s governing board released a public statement backing Kornbluth last Thursday.

Sponsored by Rep. Elise M. Stefanik ’06 (R-N.Y.), the House resolution denounces the three presidents’ comments at last week’s hearing as “evasive and dismissive” and says Kornbluth and Gay ought to follow Magill in stepping down.

Stefanik’s viral exchange with Gay at the hearing over whether or not calling for the genocide of Jews would constitute a breach of Harvard’s policies on bullying and harassment put her at the forefront of the congressional battle against Harvard and other elite universities’ handling of antisemitism on their campuses.

Following the testimony, more than 70 members of Congress — mostly Republicans — called on Gay and the other two presidents to resign. But 84 Democrats — including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — joined virtually all Republicans in voting for Wednesday’s resolution, signaling deep bipartisan animus toward Gay in Washington.

“The passage of my resolution marks a historic bipartisan effort to stand for moral truth,” Stefanik wrote on X Wednesday night. “The world is watching as Members from both sides of the aisle stand resolutely with the Jewish people to condemn antisemitism on university campuses and the morally bankrupt testimony of the Harvard, MIT, and Penn university presidents.”

House Minority Whip Rep. Katherine Clark (D-M.A.), who was one of 125 Democrats to vote against the resolution, wrote in a statement that the three presidents “should have unequivocally condemned attacks on the Jewish community and affirmed their commitment to fighting hate and protecting the security of all students” in their testimonies.

But still, Clark argued that it is not the role of Congress to determine Harvard’s and MIT’s presidential leadership decisions.

“As private institutions, I believe it is up to the universities’ leadership and community members to determine how to move forward – not Members of Congress,” Clark wrote.

In a floor speech before the vote on her resolution, Stefanik said the resolution was “only a first step, but it is an important step.”

“We clearly have tremendous work ahead of us,” Stefanik said, “to address this rot of antisemitism that is now rooted in our once premier higher education institutions.”

—Staff writer Sophia C. Scott can be reached at sophia.scott@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X at @ScottSophia_.

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Central AdministrationPoliticsFront Middle FeatureClaudine GayCongressIsrael PalestineLeadership Crisis