House Chairwoman Subpoenas 3 Harvard Leaders in Campus Anti-Semitism Probe

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
February 16, 2024Politics
House Chairwoman Subpoenas 3 Harvard Leaders in Campus Anti-Semitism Probe
<p>Supporters of Palestine gather at Harvard University to show their support for Palestinians in Gaza at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 2023. Thousands of Palestinians sought refuge on October 14 after Israel warned them to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip before an expected ground offensive against Hamas, one week on from the [&hellip;]</p>

The House Education and Workforce Committee issued subpoenas for documents from three top Harvard officials after repeated prior requests for the university to voluntarily provide records accounting for its handling of anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

On Friday, Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sent subpoenas to interim Harvard President Dr. Alan Garber, Harvard Corporation Senior Fellow Penny Pritzker, and Harvard Management Company CEO N.P. Narvekar. Together, the three subpoenas call for Harvard leaders to turn over 11 different types of records, including reports of anti-Semitic incidents on campus, investigative and disciplinary records arising from these reports, meeting minutes from Harvard University officials and leadership organizations, and other records detailing how the university handles debate over the Israel–Palestinian conflict on campus.

Ms. Foxx first reached out on Jan. 9, asking Harvard officials to turn over the documents without the need for a legal battle. By her initial Jan. 23 response deadline, Ms. Foxx said Harvard had turned over 1,032 pages of documents, “all of which were already publicly available.”

On Feb. 7, Ms. Foxx gave her “final warning” to Harvard officials to turn over the documents voluntarily.

Harvard appears to have turned over more than 1,400 additional pages of documents since Jan. 23, but the Republican committee chair said university officials still hadn’t provided substantial answers on two of her four priority requests and had “apparent omissions and questionable redactions” in their responses to the other two priority requests.

“I am extremely disappointed in the path that Harvard has chosen to take in the Committee’s investigation,” Ms. Foxx said Friday. “Over the course of this investigation, Harvard has touted its willingness to work with the Committee, citing the thousands of pages of documents it has produced. But, of the 2,516 pages of documents Harvard has produced in response to the Committee’s antisemitism inquiry to date, at least 1,032—over 40 percent—were already publicly available.”

The new subpoenas now add legal weight to her document requests, raising the possibility that the Harvard officials could be found in contempt of Congress if they still don’t provide a satisfactory response.

“The limited and obfuscatory nature of the productions that Harvard has provided in the last month has made clear that it is not treating this congressional inquiry with appropriate seriousness. Given Harvard’s vast resources and the urgency with which it should be addressing the scourge of antisemitism, the evidence suggests that the school is obstructing this investigation and is willing to tolerate the proliferation of antisemitism on its campus,” Ms. Foxx’s subpoena letters to the Harvard officials state.

“Given Harvard’s failure to satisfy the document requests delineated in the February 7 letter, and to avoid any further delay in its investigation, the Committee must now compel production of all responsive documents.”

The subpoenas give Mr. Garber, Ms. Pritzker, and Mr. Narvekar until March 4 to produce the requested records.

NTD News reached out to Harvard University for comment on Friday but did not receive a response by press time.

Ms. Foxx’s investigation into Harvard’s handling of anti-Semitic incidents comes in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, and Israel’s retaliatory military campaign throughout the Gaza Strip. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East has inspired demonstrations and even confrontations on U.S. university campuses between students with opposing views of the conflict. The House Education and Workforce Committee has increasingly scrutinized how U.S. colleges and universities have dealt with these events, and especially when students, staff, and university speakers with Jewish or pro-Israeli backgrounds and views are harassed.

At a Dec. 5 committee hearing, then-Harvard President Claudin Gay was asked whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” violates the Harvard code of conduct, to which she responded that it “depends on the context.” Ms. Gay faced criticism for that response and subsequent allegations of plagiarism in her past scholarly work, and she resigned from her position on Jan. 2.

Leaders from other prominent U.S. colleges, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University, have also faced scrutiny for how their schools are dealing with the Israel–Palestinian debate and instances of anti-Semitism.

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