US House Republicans grill university presidents over campus antisemitism
U.S. House Republicans on Tuesday pressed the presidents of three of the country's most prestigious universities on their efforts to combat antisemitism following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, with some suggesting their response to rhetoric that surfaced on campus was inadequate.
In their testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives committee, Claudine Gay of Harvard University, Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania and Sally Kornbluth of Massachusetts Institute of Technology each denounced the Islamist militant group's attack and affirmed their commitment to assuring Jewish students feel safe. At the same time, all three reiterated a promise to protect free speech on their campuses. "We do not sanction individuals for their political views or their speech, but when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our behavior-based policy - bullying, harassment and intimidation - we take action," Gay said.
The university presidents are at the forefront of the latest battle over free speech on U.S. college campuses. Many have been roiled by clashing pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrations that have sometimes given way to antisemitic and Islamophobic rhetoric and assaults.