December 5th, 2023
By Brandon Poulter
Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik grilled the president of Harvard University during a House Education Committee hearing Tuesday on her response to students saying phrases associated with violence against Jews.
Stefanik questioned Harvard University President Claudine Gay with several questions about the phrases “intifada revolution” and “From the river to the sea,” which are associated with calls for genocide of the Jewish people. Stefanik referenced multiple instances in which university students have shouted the phrases.
“Will admissions offers be rescinded or any disciplinary action be taken against students or applicants who say ‘From the river to the sea’ or ‘intifada’ advocating for the murder of Jews?” Stefanik asked at the hearing.
“As I have said, that type of hateful, reckless, offensive speech is personally abhorrent to me,” Gay said in response.
Stefanik repeatedly questioned what action would be taken against students who have harassed and intimidated Jewish students on campus, but Gay refused to provide any details.
“What action will be taken?” Stefanik questioned.
Gay said that action would not be taken against speech and would only be taken when the speech slips into physical violence and violates the bullying policies of Harvard.
“We have robust disciplinary processes that allow us to hold individuals accountable,” Gay said.
Over 30 student organizations at Harvard signed a pro-Palestinian letter blaming Israel for the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks, causing nationwide uproar against the university. Gay released a statement saying that the students did not speak for the University.
Additionally, over 100 Harvard faculty signed a letter defending the phrase “From the river to the sea.” Following the rise of anti-Israel sentiment on Harvard’s campus, several donors stopped donating, causing concern among Harvard gift officers who receive donations.
Students previously had their offers to Harvard rescinded over offensive messages sent within a group text, while the university has a history of discriminating against conservative speech
Harvard is under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights following a rise in anti-Israel activities on campus. Both universities also created antisemitism task forces to deal with the rise following the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel.