Dem Calls For MIT, Penn, Harvard Investigation In Addition To Resignation
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) is not only calling for the resignation of the presidents of Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology after their failure to condemn anti-Semitism in their schools, but is also asking that the schools be investigated.
The calls come after a Tuesday hearing on anti-semitism when Harvard President Claudine Gay, Penn President Liz Magill and MIT President Sally Kornbluth were asked if students’ calls for genocide against Jews would be considered harassment. The trio had refused to outrightly condemn the act and instead, stated that it would depend on context. The hearing was followed by a firestorm, with growing calls for actions against Gay, Magill and Kornbluth.
Calls grow for ouster of UPenn, Harvard, MIT presidents after antisemitism House hearing https://t.co/U8RkwErCyF
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During an interview with CNN, Gottheimer suggested that the three presidents should step down, saying, “Imagine being a parent of a student on that campus who — and I don’t ever want any student, I don’t care if you’re Jewish, if you’re Muslim, I don’t want anyone to be afraid to go to class, to be who they are, regardless of their background. And, to me, I don’t know how if you’re a Jewish student right now on those campuses, or frankly on a lot of campuses in our country, you’re not just afraid.”
He continued, “And that’s — when people are screaming death to Jews or dirty little Jew or other things that I’ve heard from a lot of my constituency’s students of what it feels like now to be on these [campuses] where they literally don’t want to go to class. They can’t wear a head covering, a yarmulke, right? They just can’t be who they are. And I never want that.”
While Gottheimer said he believes in freedom of speech as a member of Congress, he pointed out that students also “have a freedom from fear and no one should be afraid.”
He then came for Harvard, MIT and Penn, pointing out that they have fostered environments “ that literally put students in fear, again, regardless of background.”
According to him, the institutions, which benefit from federal funding, research funding and other resources in a huge way, could be in violation of Title VI, a provision that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national origin and color in programs that receive financial support from the federal government.
Hence, he called for the Department of Education to investigate them in order to send a message that the government does not encourage anti-Semitism or any other form of discrimination in schools.
Gottheimer joins over 70 lawmakers on both sides of the aisle calling for Harvard President Claudine Gay, MIT President Sally Kornbluth and Penn President Liz Magill to resign. A joint call led by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), requires that the three be removed by the colleges’ governing board members.
A letter sent to the board also asks the board for an action plan that will ensure that Jewish and Israeli students feel safe on their campuses.
“Anything less than these steps will be seen as your endorsement of what Presidents Gay, Magill, and Kornbluth said to Congress and an act of complicity in their antisemitic posture. The world is watching — you can stand with your Jewish students and faculty, or you can choose the side of dangerous antisemitism,” the letter stated.