The investigation follows a complaint asserting that Harvard failed to address incidents of harassment against Jewish and Israeli students. Harvard President Claudine Gay acknowledged the issue in a Nov. 9 letter, revealing the formation of an Anti-Semitism Advisory Group and plans for comprehensive training and education on antisemitism and Jewish history. The Education Department confirmed the investigation but did not disclose specifics.
This probe is part of a broader effort by the department, which announced earlier investigations into several U.S. colleges and a school district for alleged anti-semitic and Islamophobic incidents. The move comes amid a series of reported incidents at U.S. schools since Hamas' attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Notable cases include federal charges against a Cornell University student, Patrick Dai, for allegedly making violent threats against Jewish students online. The University of Pennsylvania also reported disturbing anti-semitic emails, prompting FBI involvement.
There are sentiments regarding this matter that are critical of the Ivy League institution’s recognition of discrimination against all students. Some are fully opposed to the spread of hate at the university.
Shut it down. Schools should not be teaching hate.
— Tara 🇺🇸 (@thrashr83) November 30, 2023
Stop all federal funds to these universities who support discrimination against the Jewish community! Why should we be funding them anyway?
— Kathleen Winchell ❤️🤍💙🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@KathleenWinche3) November 30, 2023
Committee Chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from Virginia, criticized the college administrators, stating that they have mostly remained passive, permitting the proliferation of appalling rhetoric. She emphasized the importance of creating and maintaining a secure learning environment for both the students and staff. Foxx asserted that this is not a moment for hesitancy or lukewarm statements. She explained that through the hearing, they aim to spotlight these campus leaders and compel them to take decisive action in firmly opposing anti-semitism.
Harvard and other universities have faced criticism for their handling of student protests, leading to Harvard President Gay, along with counterparts from the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, being called to testify before a congressional committee. Committee Chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx criticized college administrators for allowing "horrific rhetoric to fester and grow" and emphasized the need for decisive action against antisemitism. The investigation into Harvard reflects broader concerns about addressing discrimination on college campuses in the aftermath of geopolitical events.
Noumaan Faiz, (he/him) is a journalist and entertainer from Hayward, CA who covers culture and entertainment.
Edited by Nykeya Woods