On December 5, the House Committee on Education and Workforce held a hearing focusing on antisemitic activity on college campuses following the start of the Israel-Hamas War. Three college presidents were witnesses for the hearing: Harvard University President Claudine Gay, Penn University President Liz Magill, and MIT President Sally Kornbluth. During the hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) asked each of the witnesses if calling for the genocide of Jews violated their university’s code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment. The answers, to a one, were astonishing.
Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment?
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 5, 2023
STEFANIK: At MIT, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate MIT‘s code of conduct or rules regarding bullying and harassment — yes or no?
KORNBLUTH: To targeted individuals not making public statements.
STEFANIK: Yes or no? Calling for the genocide of Jews does not constitute bullying or harassment.
KORNBLUTH: I have not heard calling for the genocide for Jews on our campus.
STEFANIK: But you’ve heard chants for Intifada.
KORNBLUTH: I’ve heard chants which can be antisemitic, depending on the context, when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.
STEFANIK: So those would not be, according to the MIT’s code of conduct or rules.
KORNBLUTH: That would be investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.
STEFANIK: Ms. Magill, at Penn, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s rules or code of conduct — yes or no?
MAGILL: If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment, yes.
STEFANIK: I am asking specifically calling for the genocide of Jews. Does that constitute bullying or harassment?
MAGILL: If it is directed and severe; pervasive, it is harassment.
STEFANIK: So the answer is yes.
MAGILL: It is a context-dependent decision, Congresswoman.
STEFANIK: It’s a context-dependent decision? That’s your testimony today? Calling for the genocide of Jews is depending upon the context? That is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer yes, Ms. Magill. So, is your testimony that you will not answer yes?
MAGILL: If the speech becomes conduct, it can be harassment, yes.
STEFANIK: Conduct meaning committing the act of genocide? The speech is not harassment? This is unacceptable, Ms. Magill. I’m going to give you one more opportunity for the world to see your answer. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s code of conduct when it comes to bullying and harassment — yes or no?
MAGILL: It can be harassment.
STEFANIK: The answer is yes.
And Dr. Gay, at Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment — yes or no?
GAY: It can be, depending on the context.
STEFANIK: What’s the context?
GAY: Targeted as an individual; targeted as … at an individual.
STEFANIK: It’s targeted at Jewish students; Jewish individuals. Do you understand your testimony is dehumanizing them? Do you understand that dehumanization is part of antisemitism? I will ask you one more time. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment — yes or no?
GAY: Antisemitic rhetoric …
STEFANIK: And is it antisemitic rhetoric …
GAY: Antisemitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation — that is actionable conduct, and we do take action.
STEFANIK: So the answer is yes, that calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard’s code of conduct. Correct?
GAY: Again, it depends on the context.
STEFANIK: It does not depend on the context. The answer is yes, and this is why you should resign. These are unacceptable answers, across the board.
As I said, astonishing.
Since the university’s presidents seem unfamiliar with their institution’s statements considering such matters, as a public service, RedState directly, and without alteration, provides quotes from their respective websites. First, MIT.
We take special care not to overlook bad behavior or disrespect on the grounds of great accomplishment, talent, or power.
We strive to make our community a humane and welcoming place where people from a diverse range of backgrounds can grow and thrive – and where we all feel that we belong.
We know that attending to our own and each other’s wellbeing in mind, body, and spirit is essential. We believe that decency, kindness, respect, and compassion for each other as human beings are signs of strength.
Valuing potential over pedigree, we know that talent and good ideas can come from anywhere – and we value one another’s contributions in every role.
Penn recognizes that people are the most important resource for achieving eminence in accomplishing our mission in the areas of teaching, research, community service, and patient care. Penn is an institution that values academic freedom, diversity and respect for one another. Penn is committed to the principle of nondiscrimination and does not tolerate conduct that constitutes harassment on any basis, including sexual, racial, ethnic, religious, or gender harassment.
Finally, Harvard. Such as it is.
Harvard’s commitment to diversity in all forms is rooted in our fundamental belief that engaging with unfamiliar ideas, perspectives, cultures, and people creates the conditions for dramatic and meaningful growth.
We must continue to find ways to support each other and work to build a community of care and solidarity towards changing the course for our future.
Now, we look at recent campus activity. At MIT, staff has suffered harassment, and Jewish students have been physically prevented from attending class. Penn is facing a lawsuit by two Jewish undergraduates claiming the school is a hotbed of antisemitism and was so even before the Israel-Hamas War started. At Harvard, former school president Larry Summers, who is anything but a conservative, has gone on the record blasting the institution he once led for its failure to condemn student-issued antisemitic statements.
If nothing else, the above should forever lay to rest any fear among the non-college-attending populace that not going to college indicates a lack of intelligence. Snark aside, when you have the leaders of higher education institutions insisting that calls for genocide must be placed into “context” before being condemned, nothing more needs to be said regarding how this reveals their utter moral bankruptcy.