During a House Oversight Committee hearing involving presidents of some of the top Ivy League schools in the country, university presidents have landed themselves and the universities they represent in hot water. When questioned if calling for the genocide of Jews is a violation of their code of conduct, the presidents responded by saying it depended on the “context.” In response, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are pushing back. Texas. Rep. Chip Roy (R) and Florida Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D) are calling for the university presidents to resign.
When questioned by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (R), Harvard University President Claudine Gay responded with “it depends on the context.” University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill provided a similar response. After the hearing, Harvard University released a statement, clarifying that “calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile,” and President Magill released a video, clarifying that “a call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening.”
However, Democrats and Republicans are speaking out against their initial responses, and lawmakers find consensus in calling for the presidents to resign.
Responding to Harvard University’s statement, Rep. Roy shared that he is “pressuring” for Gay to resign. “What rock have folks been living under?” he questioned, adding that “this is just one obvious example of what these ‘elite’ universities have become.” Rep. Roy further questioned “will we stop giving them blank checks? Will alumni stop giving them money?”
I am for pressuring her to resign. I am glad this is all being highlighted… but what rock have folks been living under? This is just one obvious example of what these “elite” universities have become… will we stop giving them blank checks?! Will alumni stop giving them money? https://t.co/vSOAVQBSUA
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) December 6, 2023
That’s what Ross Stevens, a Penn graduate, did with his $100 million donation.
Stevens’ attorney wrote in a letter that the university’s “permissive approach to hate speech calling for violence against Jews and laissez faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students would violate any policies or rules that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on religion, including those of Stone Ridge.”
Rep. Moskowitz has similarly called on the university presidents to resign, commenting that Gay “completely failed the course on being a university president.”
Explaining that Rep. Stefanik’s question was “not a trick question,” adding that he doesn’t understand “how time in and time out they struggle with this question.”