Harvard, Penn, MIT: Calling for Genocide Is OK ‘Depending on the Context’

In testimony before the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday, the presidents of three of the country’s top universities refrained from stating that anti-Semitism violates their campuses’ code of conduct. According to their testimonies, calling for the genocide of Jewish people is not necessarily bullying or harassment.

At the beginning of the 5-hour hearing, House Education Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx told the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

Today, each of you have a chance to answer to atone for the many specific instances of vitriolic, hate-filled anti-Semitism on your respective campuses that have denied students the safe learning environment they are due.

Violating rules? New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik directly asked each president if “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates the code of conduct or rules regarding bullying and harassment of their universities.

  • “It is a context-dependent decision,” Penn president Liz Magill responded.
  • “When [anti-Semitic rhetoric] crosses into conduct … we do take action,” Harvard president Claudin Gay said.
  • The language would only be “investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe,” mit president Sally Kornbluth stated.

People deserve answers, not rhetoric. It is clear that the Jewish students on all of your campuses are afraid to be themselves because you refuse to take real action … against anti-Semitism.
— Lisa McClain, Republican representative of Michigan

‘Free Speech’: All three presidents admitted to the increase of anti-Semitism on their campuses. But each president argued that their universities also prioritize free speech.

Harvard must model what it means to preserve free expression while combating prejudice and preserving the security of our community.
—Claudin Gay

We have probably thousands of speakers to campus every single year. Many of them I disagree with. I don’t cancel or censor them in advance of their arrival to campus.
—Liz Magill

Our campus’s actions to date have protected students’ safety, minimized disruptions to campus activities, and protected the right to free expression.
—Sally Kornbluth

Anti-Semitism in education: These campuses are just three of several American universities seeing an uptick in anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric following Hamas’s October 7 massacre of Israelis.

Why are some of our nation’s most prestigious universities teaching that anti-Semitism is not bullying and that calling for the genocide of Jews is a right of free speech?

To understand, read “The One Minority Society Loves to Hate.”