House Committee Calls on Harvard to Turn Over Campus Antisemitism Records

House Committee Calls on Harvard to Turn Over Campus Antisemitism Records

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The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is advancing an investigation into the prevalence of antisemitic activity at Harvard University, with a new request this week for the Ivy League institution to turn over documents detailing its internal reporting and adjudication of harassment targeting Jewish individuals on campus.

Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sent a nine-page letter to Harvard on Tuesday, giving the university until Jan. 23 to turn over a broad range of documents on how it handles incidents targeting Jewish individuals on campus. Among the records Ms. Foxx requested were all reports of antisemitic acts or incidents at Harvard and records of resulting investigations and disciplinary actions.
Ms. Foxx said congressional testimony that then-Harvard President Dr. Claudine Gay provided on Dec. 5 raised doubts as to whether Harvard is willing to address antisemitism on campus. During the testimony, Ms. Gay was specifically asked if “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates the Harvard code of conduct, to which she replied that “it depends on the context.” Ms. Gay resigned earlier this month amid criticism of her Congressional testimony and separate allegations of plagiarism.

Congress began more closely scrutinizing how Harvard and other U.S. colleges handle antisemitic incidents, following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in southern Israel and the resulting conflict. Many campus student organizations, including a number at Harvard, have expressed solidarity with the Palestinian cause amid the ongoing Gaza conflict.

One particular expression of solidarity for the Palestinian cause that circulated in the Harvard community following the Oct. 7 attack was an open letter organized by 33 Harvard student organizations and published a day after the attack, in which they said they “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” and alleged that “the apartheid regime is the only one to blame,” without directly referencing the Hamas attacks.

Ms. Foxx also noted comments posted on SideChat, an anonymous messaging platform that requires a Harvard email address to access. Among the anonymous comments Ms. Foxx noted in her letter was one that read “LET EM COOK” alongside a Palestinian flag emoji and another that stated, “I proudly accept the label of terrorist.”

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Ms. Foxx requested Harvard turn over records of communications from SideChat and other social media posts targeting Jewish people, Israeli nationals, the state of Israel, or the principles and supporters of Zionism—a movement for the establishment and maintaining of a Jewish ethnoreligious state in the land inhabited by the Jews in the Bible.

In her letter, Ms. Foxx also asked Harvard to turn over documents of any efforts by Harvard students, faculty, and staff to engage in the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement.

The BDS movement claims that it wants to put economic pressure on the state of Israel to reach an agreement on a peaceful and fair solution to its conflict with the Palestinians. The BDS movement’s proponents say their efforts are modeled after the movement to pressure South Africa to end its apartheid system. Critics of the movement argue that it is more simply a continuation of anti-Jewish ideology. Both the Republican and Democratic Party have officially opposed the BDS movement.

In a statement shared with its student news publication, The Harvard Crimson, a Harvard spokesperson said, “the University is reviewing Chairwoman Foxx’s letter and will be in touch with the Committee regarding their request.”

NTD News reached out to Harvard University with additional questions about the document requests and its policies, but has not yet received a response.

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