Harvard cuts ties with Rep. Stefanik over voter fraud claims

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FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2019 file photo, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., asks questions during a public impeachment hearing in Washington regarding President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. Stefanik has been removed from a panel at Harvard University for making comments that perpetuated Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, the school announced Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A Republican member of Congress has been removed from a panel at Harvard University for making comments that perpetuated President Donald Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, the school announced Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York was removed from a senior advisory committee at Harvard's school of government after she declined to resign voluntarily, according to a statement from Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Hundreds of students and alumni called on Harvard to cut ties with Stefanik, a 2006 Harvard graduate, after last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Stefanik was one of roughly a dozen current and former public servants on a senior advisory committee for Harvard’s Institute of Politics, a program intended to get undergraduates interested in public service careers.

Elmendorf said the decision was not based on political ideology.

“Rather, in my assessment, Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect,” his statement said.

Stefanik responded that it's a “rite of passage and badge of honor” to be boycotted by U.S. universities.

“The decision by Harvard’s administration to cower and cave to the woke Left will continue to erode diversity of thought, public discourse, and ultimately the student experience,” she wrote in a statement.

Stefanik was among 147 Republicans who opposed certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election last week. She condemned the riot at the U.S. Capitol but repeated false claims about “unprecedented voting irregularities” in the presidential election.

Stefanik, who represents an upstate New York district, was reelected to a fourth term in the November election.