House committee subpoenas Harvard leaders for antisemitism documents

Rep. Virigina Foxx accused Harvard of obstructing her investigation of campus antisemitism, forcing her to take compulsory measures

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Harvard Yard during finals week, December 13, 2023 in Cambridge, Mass.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce issued subpoenas to Harvard’s leaders on Friday morning, seeking documents related to the committee’s investigation into campus antisemitism that the university allegedly withheld.

The subpoena is a historic step — the first time, according to the committee, that it has issued a subpoena to a university. It comes after two months of exchanges of letters and documents between the committee and Harvard following a disastrous hearing that contributed to former Harvard President Claudine Gay’s resignation.

The subpoenas, issued by Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC), specifically target Penny Pritzker, Harvard Corporation’s senior fellow; interim President Alan Garber; and N.P. Narvekar, Harvard Management Company chief executive officer.

Foxx said in a statement that at least 40% of the 2,516 pages of documents Harvard had provided to the committee were already publicly available, and that the university had failed to address some of the priority requests she made in a letter last week, in which she threatened subpoenas.

“Harvard’s continued failure to satisfy the Committee’s requests is unacceptable,” Foxx said. “I will not tolerate delay and defiance of our investigation while Harvard’s Jewish students continue to endure the firestorm of antisemitism that has engulfed its campus. If Harvard is truly committed to combating antisemitism, it has had every opportunity to demonstrate its commitment with actions, not words.”

In cover letters to the three Harvard officials, Foxx accused the school of failing to treat the probe “with appropriate seriousness,” suggesting that “the school is obstructing this investigation and is willing to tolerate the proliferation of antisemitism on its campus.” Foxx set a deadline for document production of March 4.

The documents requested across the three subpoenas include Harvard leadership’s internal communications, records of reports of antisemitism and actions taken in response, records from the school’s antisemitism task force and advisory group and any documents relating to anti-Israel protests on Harvard’s campus.

The committee chairwoman described the documents in her letters as “essential to inform the Committee’s consideration of potential legislation to address antisemitism in postsecondary education.”

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