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House panel opens probe into Ivy League schools following antisemitism hearing

Elise Stafanik called the testimony of the universities' presidents "morally bankrupt."

Published: December 8, 2023 11:12am

Updated: December 8, 2023 3:07pm

The House Education and Workforce Committee is opening an investigation into Harvard University, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, and other schools, following a recent congressional hearing about antisemitism on college campuses. 

House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik R-N.Y., called the testimony of the universities' presidents "morally bankrupt." Democrats and Republicans have condemned the universities' presidents' responses to questions about how their respective schools combat hate speech and antisemitism on campus. 

"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 said, according to CBS News. "We will use our full congressional authority to hold these schools accountable for their failure on the global stage."

MIT President Sally Kornbluth, Harvard President Claudine Gay and Penn President Liz Magill testified before the committee on Tuesday.

Their testimonies also resulted in at least one major donor saying he's at least temporarily withholds financial support for Penn.

The criticism about the school presidents' testimony is largely about their answers to committee members' questions on whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates their respective school’s code of conduct on bullying or harassment, CNN reports.

None of them explicitly said that calling for such genocide would necessarily violate their code of conduct. They instead said it would depend on the circumstances and conduct and attempted to balance the matter with that of free speech.

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