Don’t be a Stefanik: Why Harvard removed a GOP congressman from her leadership

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On Tuesday, Harvard University removed Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) from one of its school of public policy’s advisory committees. In doing so, Harvard joined a growing list of companies and other institutions making complex choices about how to engage with the politicians who amplified President Trump’s bogus claims of fraud in the 2020 election. Harvard’s message was not just about politics, however; it was intended to be an unequivocal leadership lesson for its students and the nation.

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Don’t be a Stefanik.

The Tory MP, who represents much of upstate New York, has been one of the president’s loudest supporters, and after Trump’s failed re-election campaign, Stefanik was one of the 147 members of Congress who voted to reject Joe Biden’s certification of elections. college victory. The MP, who has been frequently praised by Trump for standing up for him when he was impeached last year, is a steadfast supporter of the president and joined him at his controversial rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last summer. Stefanik, who easily won re-election last November, has been seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, but she has also faced stiff criticism in her home district for her comments on the election.

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It appears that the criticism has now spread to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In a message to the Harvard Kennedy School Policy Institute’s senior advisory committee on Tuesday, Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf explained his decision to remove Congressman Stefanik, a Harvard alumnus, from the committee after refusing his resignation request. .

“My request was not about political parties, political ideology or his choice of presidential candidate,” Elmendorf wrote. “On the contrary, in my assessment, Elise has made public claims about voter fraud in the November presidential election that have no basis in the evidence, and she has made public statements about legal actions related to the election that are incorrect. Moreover, these assertions and statements do not reflect political disagreements but relate to the foundations of the electoral process by which the leaders of this country are chosen.

In other words, Elmendorf claimed that it was Stefanik’s inability to speak and act in accordance with the fundamental standards of American democracy that cost him the role on the committee – a damning assessment of a school that is one of the leading institutions on the subject.

Stefanik, for his part, sharply criticized the decision. In a statement she tweeted on Tuesday, Stefanik said that “the decision of the Harvard administration to curl up and give in to the awakened left will continue to erode diversity of thought.

“The Ivory Tower’s march towards a monoculture of intolerant, like-minded liberal views demonstrates the contemptuous contempt of ordinary Americans and will instill a culture of fear for students who will understand that a conservative view will not be tolerated and will be silenced. Stefanik added.

While Stefanik’s words and actions may work very well for his political base as well as for supporters of the incumbent president, the removal of an advisory board from his alma mater is an embarrassing twist for someone many considered to be doing. part of the next generation. GOP stars. It also reinforces the rapid attitude change following the violent riots in the nation’s capital last week.

By its decision, Harvard makes Stefanik a cautionary tale of what happens when elected officials and other leaders extend the gullibility of their statements beyond the confines of constructive and, for some, even civilian speech. . With no empirical evidence to back up his claims about the fairness of the recent elections, it’s no surprise that the Kennedy School, one of the nation’s leading public policy schools, found his actions to go beyond the bounds simple political disputes.

Harvard may be one of the first, but arguably won’t be the last, of the institutions to face similar decisions in the weeks and months to come – both in the halls of higher education. and in boardrooms across America. As a result, there will undoubtedly be a heated debate about what constitutes freedom of political expression, as well as political correctness. But Harvard’s opening volley in the debate is as blunt as it is unambiguous: If you choose to lead by deception, you could very well find yourself on your own.

But for now, rather than being an advisor to one of America’s top institutes of higher education, which she’s proudly affiliated with, the disgraced MP is now just as likely to be in a study. cases like the ones she studied at Harvard. But in this case, it won’t be for the way she’s conducted …

But for how she didn’t.

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