House Presses MIT To Provide Records on Its Response to Campus Anti-Semitism

'We have grave concerns regarding the inadequacy of MIT's response to antisemitism on its campus,' Virginia Foxx writes

Rep. Virginia Foxx (L) and MIT president Sally Kornbluth (Win McNamee, Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
March 8, 2024

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is pressing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to provide internal documents regarding its response to campus anti-Semitism, which committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.) panned as dangerously inadequate.

Foxx's letter, sent Friday to MIT president Sally Kornbluth and MIT corporation chair Mark Gorenberg, marks an escalation in the committee's investigation into the university. While the committee announced that investigation in December, this is the first time it has asked MIT leaders to turn over documents. Foxx is seeking internal communications between MIT leaders on the school's disciplinary decisions, documents that show MIT's foreign funding, and other records.

"We have grave concerns regarding the inadequacy of MIT's response to antisemitism on its campus," Foxx wrote. "MIT's hypocrisy and selective enforcement of Institute rules … exposes the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of its leadership's rationalizations for their inaction towards antisemitism on campus."

Foxx went on to outline high-profile examples of anti-Semitism seen on MIT's campus, using a number of Washington Free Beacon reports to do so.

In November, for example, anti-Israel students at MIT held an unsanctioned protest in a popular campus building that leads to classrooms and other faculty offices. When MIT staff warned participants they would be suspended if they remained in the area, they refused. After the demonstration, Kornbluth watered down her threat, with the student protesters receiving a "non-academic suspension" that allowed them to keep attending class. Kornbluth said she was concerned that a harsher punishment could have prompted the deportation of foreign students.

MIT went on to launch a "Standing Together Against Hate" speaker series aimed at addressing "real tension between some groups and individuals." One of the school's hand-picked speakers, Boston University antibigotry fellow Dalia Mogahed, endorsed Hamas terrorism as an act of lawful "resistance," the Free Beacon reported in February.

Prior to MIT's launch of "Standing Together Against Hate," Kornbluth tapped a group of Jewish faculty members to advise the school on the initiative. While the participants said they were "hopeful" that the move would help them "more effectively influence the decision making to reduce the tensions on campus," they disbanded the advisory group in a matter of weeks, saying MIT failed to seek out their advice altogether.

An MIT spokeswoman said the school's leaders "received the committee's letter and are examining it."

"MIT is committed to providing a response to the committee's questions," the spokeswoman said. "We don't have any further comment at this time."

Foxx's document request comes just weeks after the Republican hit Harvard University with a congressional subpoena in a similar investigation. Harvard failed to produce documents related to its handling of anti-Semitic incidents on campus, prompting Foxx to serve the Ivy League with subpoenas seeking internal documents.

While Harvard did turn over documents in relation to the subpoena, Foxx called those records "useless," saying they were heavily redacted. Foxx said the committee is "weighing an appropriate response to Harvard's malfeasance" as a result.

"Harvard has absolutely failed to comply in good faith with the Committee's subpoena for information about antisemitism on its campus," she said. "I don't know if it's arrogance, ineptness, or indifference that's guiding Harvard. Regardless, its actions to date are shameful."