Seventy-four House members sent a bipartisan letter to the governing boards of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania, calling on all three to take immediate action to remove the president of each respective institution.
The letter, obtained by Fox News Digital, was signed by 74 House of Representatives members from both parties, and specifically calls out MIT President Sally Kornbluth, UPenn President Liz Magill, and Harvard President Claudine Gay, for failing to say if calls for the genocide of Jewish people would violate university policies during a congressional hearing Tuesday.
The letter was signed by Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla.; Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.; Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.; Rep. Mike Ezell, R-Miss., and many more.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., among those who signed the letter, asked Gay, Magill and Kornbluth if calling for the genocide of Jews would violate their university’s policies.
“If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment. Yes,” Magill responded, later adding, “It is a context-dependent decision.”
“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded.
Kornbluth responded to the question, saying it would be considered harassment only if it’s “targeted at individuals, not making public statements” and if it was “pervasive and severe.”
“There is no context in which calls for the genocide of Jews are acceptable rhetoric. Their failure to unequivocally condemn calls for the systematic murder of Jews is deeply alarming. It stands in stark contrast to the principles we expect leaders of top academic institutions to uphold,” the bipartisan letter states. “It is hard to imagine any Jewish or Israeli student, faculty, or staff feeling safe when presidents of your member institutions could not say that calls for the genocide of Jews would have clear consequences on your campus.
“If calls for genocide of the Jewish people are not in violation of your universities’ policies, then your universities are operating under a clear double standard.”
Also in the letter, House members called on the governing boards of each institution to immediately remove Gay, Magill, and Kornbluth.
“Given this moment of crisis, we demand that your boards immediately remove each of these presidents from their positions and that you provide an actionable plan to ensure that Jewish and Israeli students, teachers, and faculty are safe on your campuses,” the members of Congress stated. “Anything less than these steps will be seen as your endorsement of what Presidents Gay, Magill, and Kornbluth said to Congress and an act of complicity in their antisemitic posture. The world is watching — you can stand with your Jewish students and faculty, or you can choose the side of dangerous antisemitism.”
Magill would later walked back her comments in a video posted to X on Wednesday.
“There was a moment during yesterday’s congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies. In that moment, I was focused on our university’s long-standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which says that speech alone is not punishable,” Magill said. “I was not focused on, but I should have been, on the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate.”
In an interview with The Harvard Crimson published Thursday, Gay apologized for her remarks before Congress earlier in the week, saying “I am sorry…Words matter.”
“When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” Gay said. “I got caught up in what had become at that point, an extended, combative exchange about policies and procedures.
In a statement to Fox News Digital, an MIT spokesperson said that “MIT and our president, Sally Kornbluth, reject antisemitism in all its forms,” and pointed to a statement from the school’s governing board.
“The MIT Corporation chose Sally to be our president for her outstanding academic leadership, her judgment, her integrity, her moral compass, and her ability to unite our community around MIT’s core values. She has done excellent work in leading our community, including in addressing antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate, which we reject utterly at MIT. She has our full and unreserved support,” the MIT Corporation wrote.
Fox News Digital reached out to Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania for comment.
Fox News Digital’s Hannah Grossman, Danielle Wallace and Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.
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