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Rep. Auchincloss Says Harvard’s Federal Funding ‘Needs To Be on the Table’

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Rep. Jake D. Auchincloss ’10 (D-Mass.) said revoking Harvard’s federal funding over its handling of campus antisemitism “needs to be on the table” during an interview with Fox News Sunday.

“Harvard and other universities have unfortunately become ransacked by antisemitism,” Auchincloss said.

Auchincloss comments indicate that some of Harvard’s traditional allies in Congress are turning against the University and offering passive support for policies that could severely damage Harvard’s finances.

Auchincloss’ communications director Georgia Burros declined to comment for this article.

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Over the past few months, Harvard has come under unprecedented scrutiny by Congress for allegations of antisemitism at the University.

In early December, then-President Claudine Gay drew widespread criticism for her testimony before Congress regarding her handling of antisemitism at the University — including from Auchincloss.

Two days later, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce initiated a congressional investigation into the University’s treatment of campus antisemitism — which released its first report last week.

Before Auchincloss’ Sunday interview, recent crticism of Harvard mostly came from Republicans on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. But the threat to federal funding from an alumnus and Democratic member of the Massachusetts delegation is likely to seriously concern interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 and his top advisers.

Garber traveled to Washington twice during his first semester as president to meet with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and discuss how Harvard will combat campus antisemitism. Auchincloss, however, appears unsatisfied with the University’s current efforts.

“Right now, Harvard is failing,” Auchincloss said in his Fox News Sunday appearance.

“They need to look at their culture from first principles and actually create a culture of open discourse, of free speech, of mutual respect in which people can pursue truth, in which everybody — regardless of nation of origin, of sex, of race — can have a suitable learning environment,” he added.

Last month, the Anti-Defamation League published a report giving Harvard — along with twelve other universities — a failing grade for its handling of campus antisemitism.

“After the ADL reported those failing grades, I sent letters to the eight universities in Massachusetts that got a ‘C’ or worse and asked them for an action plan by May 17,” Auchincloss said.

University spokesperson Jason A. Newton wrote in a statement that “Harvard has and will continue to be unequivocal — in our words and actions — that antisemitism is not and will not be tolerated on our campus.”

Auchincloss said that he is “now reviewing” the universities’ responses with the ADL to ensure they “get their house in order.”

—Staff writer Veronica H. Paulus can be reached at veronica.paulus@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @VeronicaHPaulus.

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