The House Education and Workforce Committee announced Thursday that it will formally investigate Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) for their response to campus antisemitism.
This move follows the committee’s Tuesday hearing, where legislators questioned the presidents of several elite universities regarding their response to the recent rise in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents on their campuses. This surge has been documented by both the ADL and Council on American Islamic Relations, who have reported significant increases in antisemitic and Islamophobic harassment, respectively, since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
When questioned by lawmakers, Harvard’s Claudine Gay, Penn’s Elizabeth Magill, and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth admitted to a rise in such incidents at their institutions but defended the effectiveness of their disciplinary policies in addressing the issue.
Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House committee, released a statement Thursday announcing the formal investigation and calling the responses from the presidents “unacceptable.”
“Given those institutional and personal failures, the Committee is opening a formal investigation into the learning environments at Harvard, Penn, and MIT and their policies and disciplinary procedures,” Foxx said. “This investigation will include substantial document requests, and the Committee will not hesitate to utilize compulsory measures including subpoenas if a full response is not immediately forthcoming.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is also investigating several universities, including UPenn and Harvard, regarding incidents of alleged antisemitism and Islamophobia.