Fetterman backs call for Romney to be Harvard's next president



Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on Monday backed calls for retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to become the next president of Harvard University, citing concerns in recent months with the elite school’s response to antisemitism on its campus.

The position has been officially vacant since the start of January, when ex-president Claudine Gay finally resigned after facing weeks of pressure from some university alumni and government officials amid fallout from her congressional testimony on campus antisemitism and new allegations of plagiarism. Alan Garber, who previously served as provost, is now interim president.

In a statement, Fetterman pointed to recent concerns about antisemitism at Columbia University and suggested Romney’s leadership could help “recalibrate” academia away “from far-left orthodoxy.”

“As an alumnus of Harvard, and after this mad season of antisemitism at Columbia, I co-sign,” Fetterman said in a statement about Romney on X.

Fetterman included in his post a screengrab of a Washington Post op-ed – written by American Jewish Congress (AJC) president Daniel Rosen – which was entitled, “Harvard is in an almighty mess. Let Mitt Romney clean it up.”

Fetterman added: “This former Governor of Massachusetts doesn’t need a paycheck, but Harvard and its academic peers needs to recalibrate from far-left orthodoxy.”

Neither Harvard nor Romney responded to an inquiry from The Hill about whether Romney is interested in the position or whether there has been any discussion about his theoretical candidacy.

Rosen, in his op-ed, said he is “a lifelong Democrat,” who “did not vote for Romney when he ran for U.S. president in 2008” and has “no personal connection to him.”

Still, he wrote, “I make this suggestion in the sincere and robust hope that he is someone who can navigate the university through painful but necessary reform and drive back the antisemitism that is tarnishing the institution’s credibility.”

“As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and president of the American Jewish Congress, I find it devastating that Harvard has failed to vigorously address the unchecked antisemitism on campus,” Rosen wrote in the piece, which was published a week ago.

Romney was awarded the JFK Profile in Courage award in 2021 for being the first Republican senator to vote to convict a member of his own party during the first impeachment trial. During the second impeachment trial in 2021, six Republican senators joined Romney in voting to convict the former president following the attack on the Capitol. The vote fell short of the necessary two-thirds threshold for conviction.

Rosen noted Romney’s frequent independent streak and said, “Romney has been nothing short of a profile in courage in the Senate.”

“There is no doubt that there are other Americans of similar standing and stature, but Romney’s unique bridge-building character is precisely what Harvard needs in an age of toxic polarization,” Rosen wrote, “A Harvard alumnus, he is an eloquent and experienced administrator who has consistently demonstrated his political independence in defense of what is right, rather than what is expedient.”

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