‘Wake Up Call': House Subpoenas Harvard for Stonewalling Anti-Semitism Probe

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February 16, 2024

Harvard University was hit with a congressional subpoena on Friday for obstructing a House probe into rampant anti-Semitism on its campus.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), who is helming the investigation as chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, announced that she had served the Ivy League school with several subpoenas after it failed to produce documents related to its handling of anti-Semitic incidents on campus.

It is the first time the committee has issued a subpoena to a university, though others could follow as lawmakers investigate several prominent universities for failing to police a rash of anti-Semitic incidents that have broken out on campuses across the country in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror strike on Israel.

Harvard has been locked in a battle with Republican lawmakers over accusations that anti-Semitism on campus has spiraled out of control, threatening Jewish students' safety. Harvard, the House committee said, was given months to provide a host of internal documents detailing leadership’s response to campus anti-Semitism, including materials that could show the school did not take steps to protect Jewish and pro-Israel students.

To date, the school has failed to produce the relevant documents, only handing over materials that are publicly available, and in other instances, heavily redacted. More than 40 percent of Harvard’s production consists of publicly available documents, and others appear to be unrelated to the House committee’s specific information request.

"Harvard’s continued failure to satisfy the committee’s requests is unacceptable," Foxx said in a statement. "I will not tolerate delay and defiance of our investigation while Harvard’s Jewish students continue to endure the firestorm of anti-Semitism that has engulfed its campus. If Harvard is truly committed to combating anti-Semitism, it has had every opportunity to demonstrate its commitment with actions, not words."

The subpoenas, she added, should "serve as a wakeup call to Harvard that Congress will not tolerate anti-Semitic hate in its classrooms or on campus."

Subpoenas were sent to Harvard Corporation senior fellow Penny Pritzker, interim president Alan Garber, and the Harvard Management Company chief executive officer N.P. Narvekar.

The committee initiated its probe in December, following then-Harvard president Claudine Gay's testimony before Congress, in which she failed to denounce violence and hateful rhetoric against Jews.

The committee gave Harvard several months to turn over an array of documents that would pull the curtain back on its response to anti-Semitism and pro-Hamas activity. But the school failed to do so, according to the House committee.

Of around 2,516 pages of documents Harvard gave the committee, at least 1,032, or more than 40 percent, were already publicly available.

Earlier this month, Foxx threatened to subpoena the school for obstructing the probe. At that time, the lawmaker said, "Harvard has produced only one document of significance in response to the Committee's request."

Following that warning, Harvard produced more documents, but did not fulfill the committee’s entire information request.

"In its most recent response," Foxx said, "Harvard failed to make substantial productions on two of four priority requests and its productions on the remaining two priority requests contain notable deficiencies, including apparent omissions and questionable redactions."

Published under: Anti-Semitism , Harvard