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Congress Opens Investigation Into Harvard Over Antisemitism on Campus

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Updated: December 7, 2023, at 5:19 p.m.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce launched a congressional investigation into Harvard over allegations of antisemitism on campus, the Committee announced on Thursday.

The investigation into Harvard comes two days after Harvard President Claudine Gay testified before Congress during a tense hearing about antisemitism on college and university campuses. Gay, who testified alongside MIT President Sally A. Kornbluth and University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill, faced a wave of backlash over her testimony.

Rep. Elise M. Stefanik ’06 (R-N.Y.) announced the investigation in a statement to The Crimson Thursday afternoon.

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“After this week’s pathetic and morally bankrupt testimony by university presidents when answering my questions, the Education and Workforce Committee is launching an official Congressional investigation with the full force of subpoena power into Penn, MIT, & Harvard and others,” Stefanik wrote. “We will use our full Congressional authority to hold these schools accountable for their failure on the global stage.”

The committee announced in a statement on its official X account that it will be taking “additional action to hold Harvard, UPenn, and MIT accountable for failing to provide Jewish students with the safe learning environment they are due under law.”

"These actions will include document requests for their policies and disciplinary records as the Committee examines their seemingly deplorable record,” the committee added.

Gay said in an interview with The Crimson Thursday afternoon that while Harvard has not received official notice of an investigation from the Committee, the University would comply with one.

“I’m not even sure what I’m really responding to, but I understand through the news that there is an inquiry,” Gay said. “Once we receive official notice, we will comply with whatever information is called for.”

University spokesperson Jason A. Newton wrote in a statement that Harvard “looks forward to sharing information with the Committee” during its investigation.

“Harvard’s work to combat antisemitism in our community is advancing with the highest commitment and attention from University leaders,” he wrote.

Rep. Virginia A. Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, confirmed the opening of a formal congressional hearing into Harvard.

“The testimony we received earlier this week from Presidents Gay, Magill, and Kornbluth about the responses of Harvard, UPenn, and MIT to the rampant antisemitism displayed on their campuses by students and faculty was absolutely unacceptable,” Foxx said. “Committee members have deep concerns with their leadership and their failure to take steps to provide Jewish students the safe learning environment they are due under law.”

“Given those institutional and personal failures, the Committee is opening a formal investigation into the learning environments at Harvard, UPenn, and MIT and their policies and disciplinary procedures,” Foxx added.

—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at miles.herszenhorn@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @mherszenhorn or on Threads @mileshersz.

—Staff writer Claire Yuan can be reached at claire.yuan@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @claireyuan33.

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