update deskSchools & Higher Education

University of Minnesota overtaken by ‘radical, pro-Hamas activists,’ House majority whip says

The public university must demonstrate that it “is a safe and welcoming environment for Jewish students,” Rep. Tom Emmer said.

U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol December 5, 2023 in Washington, DC. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol December 5, 2023 in Washington, DC. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The University of Minnesota, a highly ranked public school in Minneapolis, allowed itself to be overrun by “radical, pro-Hamas activists” and is “on record endorsing a concept that has been used to justify terrorism and the antisemitic view that Israel should not exist,” according to Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the U.S. House of Representatives majority whip.

Emmer penned a recent letter to Rebecca Cunningham, the university’s new president, asking her to “take action to undo the damage done by your predecessor to ensure the campus is a safe and nurturing environment for Jewish students, staff and faculty.”

The congressman had corresponded with Jeff Ettinger, the university’s previous president. Emmer wrote to Cunningham that her predecessor agreed to several terms to dismantle an illegal, anti-Israel encampment at the university, including a term he later said he didn’t understand, which “functionally implies the destruction of the State of Israel.”

“The University of Minnesota is now on record agreeing to the antisemitic sentiment that Israel should not exist,” he wrote. “This is abhorrent and completely unacceptable.”

He added that the group with which Ettinger came to an agreement, UMN Divest Coalition, says that the agreement calls for the right to “resist against the occupation,” which Emmer said “is a concept that currently and historically underlies Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews.”

The congressman sought clarity, by July 8, on what Cunningham is doing to fix the public school’s endorsement of the view that Israel has no right to exist, what the school is doing to protect Jews, and, given the university agreed to explore programs with Palestinian universities, what is it doing to make sure those schools aren’t tied to terror, as, he said, Birzeit University is.

“I look forward to working with you to cultivate a safe learning environment for Jewish students at the University of Minnesota,” he wrote.

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