The recent testimony from college presidents has created such concern over the presence of anti-Semitism on campus that the House of Representatives is now looking into the issue.
The House Committee on Education & the Workforce announced it launched an investigation into Harvard, MIT, and UPenn concerning reports of “rampant antisemitism” on these campuses. The testimonies given by the presidents of these institutions were lackluster as they did not condemn troubling behavior against people of Jewish descent.
These testimonies were decried by politicians, business leaders, and alumni as being “morally bankrupt.” The panel says these schools are not doing enough to address the issue and indicated the probe could expand to other institutions.
Committee chair Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) says her team will be requesting documents and “will not hesitate to utilize compulsory measures including subpoenas if a full response is not immediately forthcoming.”
The universities have been trying to apply damage control. Harvard President Claudine Gay wrote on X that she wanted to clarify that “Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.”
Similarly, MIT’s deputy director of media relations said the university “rejects antisemitism in all forms.” The institute also said it was sticking by its president.
UPenn President Liz Magill released a video on X in which she tried to explain her responses during the hearing. But the backlash against these institutions seems to just be getting started.
It was recently reported that a big donor to UPenn threatened to withdraw a $100 million donation unless President Magill resigned from her position.
The business leadership group Wharton Board of Advisors echoed that request in light of what they called a “dangerous and toxic culture on our campus that has been led by a select group of students and faculty and has been permitted by University leadership.”
UPenn held an emergency hearing on Thursday following President Magill’s comments. A spokesperson for the institution indicated there was no plan to implement any “imminent leadership change.”