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At a U.S. House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the presidents of three leading American universities refused to explicitly say that calls for the genocide of the Jewish people violated campus anti-harassment rules.
When New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik asked directly if “calling for the genocide of Jews” was against the codes of conduct of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania, all three presidents said the answer depended on the context.
“It is a context-dependent decision,” Penn President Liz Magill responded. Stefanik retorted, “Calling for the genocide of Jews is dependent on the context? That is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer ‘yes,’ Ms. Magill.”
Responding to the same question, Harvard President Claudine Gay said, “When speech crosses into conduct, we take action.”
MIT President Sally Kornbluth said that such language would only be “investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.”
🚨🚨🚨Presidents of @Harvard @MIT and @Penn REFUSE to say whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” is bullying and harassment according to their codes of conduct. Even going so far to say it needs to turn to “action” first. As in committing genocide.
THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE AND… pic.twitter.com/hUY3SgoOOi
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) December 5, 2023
Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) CEO Sacha Roytman commented on Wednesday, “I invite the presidents of universities who testified yesterday before the United States Congress to visit Israel for a firsthand ‘context’ as you said during the hearing. Come and see for yourselves the actions of Hamas on October 7 and understand what a genocide attempt looks like.”
I invite the presidents of universities who testified yesterday before the United States Congress to visit Israel for a firsthand “context” as you said during the hearing. Come and see for yourselves the actions of Hamas on October 7 and understand what a genocide attempt looks…
— Sacha Roytman (@SachaRoytman) December 6, 2023