In an absurd decision pushing leftist narratives over students’ learning, Harvard University decided to remove Rep. Elise Stefanik from the Senior Advisory Committee of the Kennedy Institute of Politics (IOP) due to her concerns about election integrity shared by millions of Americans.
Stefanik, a Harvard alum herself, spent her undergrad years as an active member of the IOP. As a U.S. representative, she returned to the organization on the advisory committee, which advises the direction of the group and engages with politically active students. She even has had a member of the group intern in her office each summer since she was elected to Congress.
The IOP “has tradition of being bipartisan,” according to Stefanik, with “prominent elected officials, political practitioners, campaign experts, and members of the media.”The commitment to a bipartisan advisory committee was once a reality, as it once boasted members including Elaine Chao, Barbara Barrett, and Kenneth Duberstein.”
Now, the bipartisanship is only at a surface level, as the three self-described Republican members of the committee have all openly endorsed Joe Biden, creating an ideological echo chamber that offers no support for students on the right and no challenges for students on the left.
“They obviously don’t want to hear perspectives of 73 million Americans who voted for President Trump,” Stefanik expressed, “And the tens of millions of Americans who have concerns about election integrity.”
By introducing the students to only one point of view, they are losing out on an opportunity to engage with diverse ideas and broaden their perspectives. Stefanik explained, “This will absolutely harm students. That is my number one concern. In college, you’re supposed to be able to hear multiple viewpoints. You’re supposed to be able to develop your critical thinking. You’re supposed to be able to debate these ideas.”
The double standard of higher education has been clear for decades, but it’s particularly jarring when side-by-side comparisons of the treatment of liberals and conservatives demonstrate how absurd is U.S. universities’ commitment to maintaining a “monoculture,” as Stefanik described.
Former Rep. Jesse Jackson was a member of the IOP advisory committee when he objected to recording electoral votes for George W Bush not once, but twice, going so far as to call the election “stolen.” Yet Jackson, a Democrat, kept his position.
The decision to remove Stefanik arose from a student petition, which called for her removal from the committee for “undermin[ing] democracy and our Constitution by improperly challenging the election.” The Harvard Crimson reported that more than 750 students, faculty, and alum signed.
A similar petition is likewise circulating the campus, calling for revoking degrees of those alum who demanded better security in U.S. elections, including Stefanik, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Kayleigh McEnany, one that boasts signatures from professors.
Stefanik explained that any push towards revoking well-earned degrees “will lead to significant legal action. Those are earned degrees. Those are tuition bills that have been paid. That is a disgrace.” While universities can revoke degrees after graduation, it is exceedingly rare, and occurs only in response to actions taken during the time spent at the school, such as plagiarism or cheating, not for political beliefs held years after graduating. It’s a terrifying and unjust prospect that hard-won degrees could be taken away merely because an alum fell out of political favor with the school’s administration.
Despite the petitions’ apparent popularity, some members of the Harvard community are outraged at their academic institution. Stefanik said, “There is increased pushback from alumni, from students. The university is working hard to silence those viewpoints. All day, I’ve heard from alums and current students who are appalled at Harvard’s decision to bow to the far left, and even the consideration of revoking degrees that have been earned.”