House committee calls Harvard, UPenn, MIT presidents to answer for campus antisemitism

‘We are shining the spotlight on these campus leaders and demanding they take the appropriate action to stand strong against antisemitism,’ Rep. Virginia Foxx said

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WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 24: United States Capitol building is seen under construction in Washington D.C., United States on September 24, 2023.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is calling a hearing next week with the presidents of Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania, where the university leaders will be asked to answer for antisemitic and violent incidents against Jewish students on their campuses, the committee announced on Tuesday.

“Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen countless examples of antisemitic demonstrations on college campuses. Meanwhile, college administrators have largely stood by, allowing horrific rhetoric to fester and grow,” committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said in a statement

“College and university presidents have a responsibility to foster and uphold a safe learning environment for their students and staff. Now is not a time for indecision or milquetoast statements. By holding this hearing, we are shining the spotlight on these campus leaders and demanding they take the appropriate action to stand strong against antisemitism.”

According to an announcement from the committee, the presidents will be asked to “answer for mishandling of antisemitic, violent protests.”

Harvard President Claudine Gay, UPenn President Liz Magill and MIT President Sally Kornbluth have all faced criticism for their responses to anti-Israel and antisemitic demonstrations and other incidents on their campuses.

Scores of schools across the country have taken similar flak for their responses to antisemitism on their campuses. 

A committee spokesperson told Jewish Insider Foxx had chosen these schools because they had been “at the center of the rise in antisemitic protests.” The committee also contacted Columbia University which declined to attend due to a scheduling conflict. All three presidents are appearing voluntarily.

President Gay has accepted the invitation to testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee on Dec. 5,” Harvard spokesperson Jason Newton told JI. “President Gay looks forward to sharing updates and information on the university’s work to support the Harvard community and combat antisemitism.”

MIT spokesperson Kimberly Allen told JI that Kornbluth “welcomes the opportunity to engage with the Committee Members” and referred JI to past statements on “recent events on campus.”

A UPenn spokesperson said in a statement, “President Magill understands the critical importance of fighting antisemitism and other forms of hate on Penn’s campus and looks forward to sharing the actions Penn is taking at next week’s hearing.”

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