The House of Representatives passed a groundbreaking resolution on Wednesday evening, with a vote of 303-126, calling on the presidents of Harvard and MIT to resign following their "evasive" answers during a hearing on antisemitism last week.
The resolution, which was introduced by House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, D-Fla., Rep. Jared Moskowitz, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., required a two-thirds vote to pass, signifying strong bipartisan support.
"Today's historic bipartisan vote sends a powerful message to the world that Members from both sides of the aisle stand united with the Jewish community against antisemitism on college campuses and the morally bankrupt testimony of the university presidents," Stefanik said.
During the hearing on May 26, then-University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, Harvard President Claudine Gay, and MIT President Sally Kornbluth were questioned by Stefanik about whether or not a call for the genocide of Jews would violate their institutions' policies on bullying and harassment.
Their "evasive" and "pathetic" responses sparked outrage among lawmakers, prompting them to introduce the resolution, which called for the resignation of the university presidents.
The passage of my resolution marks a historic bipartisan effort to stand for moral truth. 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…
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) December 13, 2023
Magill's resignation was announced on Tuesday, and the House resolution is now calling for the remaining presidents to follow suit.
"President Magill has resigned, and the other Presidents should follow suit," the resolution states.
Stefanik criticized the 128 Democrats who voted against the resolution, explaining that their actions speak volumes about their stance on antisemitism.
"It is disappointing and revealing that 128 Democrats chose to vote against condemning antisemitism on college campuses and the pathetic and abhorrent testimony of the university presidents," she wrote on X.
After the resolution was introduced, MIT and Harvard both released statements reaffirming their support for their respective presidents.
"MIT and our president, Sally Kornbluth, reject antisemitism in all its forms," an MIT spokesperson said. "She has our full and unreserved support."
The Harvard Corporation also issued a statement, declaring that Gay is the "right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing."
However, Stefanik and her colleagues believe that their stated support is not enough, and the presidents should take responsibility for their actions and step down from their positions.
"The strong message sent by the House today is that evasive and inadequate responses to antisemitism will not be tolerated on college campuses," Stefanik wrote in her statement.
The passing of the House resolution serves as a powerful reminder to all educational institutions to prioritize fighting against hate and protecting the rights and safety of their students. It is also a testament to the resolve of the House in standing united against all forms of hatred and discrimination.