Asking serious questions to the presidents of three elite U.S. universities—Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania—was only the initial action by Congress in getting answers from these leaders to growing antisemitism on campus, especially in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel.
A new letter from Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chair of the House Education Committee, directed to Harvard has laid out a broad series of demands for years’ worth of internal communications about the subject matter. The deadline for their delivery is 5 p.m. on Jan. 23.
“Harvard’s institutional failures regarding antisemitism extend well beyond one leader,” Foxx wrote, referencing the recent resignation of former Harvard president Claudine Gay, who began the position on July 1, 2023. In a Dec. 5 hearing, she could not definitively answer whether genocide against Jews violated school policy, instead answering that it depended on the “context.”
The requested records cover 24 categories, including reports of all antisemitic incidents since January 2021 (which would include a spate of anti-Jewish activity following the 11-day conflict between Hamas and Israel in May 2021); explanations of how the university responded; settlements for any discrimination; and “informal communications” such as text messages.
Foxx also insisted on information documenting foreign funding of Harvard, particularly through Qatar, and the “size, budget, agenda and performance metrics” for the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging.