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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Israel-Hamas war: Columbia University president to testify about antisemitism on campus

Nemat Shafik, Columbia’s leader, was originally asked to testify at the House Education and Workforce Committee’s hearing in December, but she declined, citing scheduling conflicts

AP/PTI Washington Published 18.04.24, 09:59 AM
Nemat Shafik

Nemat Shafik X/ @IMFNews

Four months after a contentious congressional hearing led to the resignations of two Ivy League presidents, Columbia University’s president is set to appear before the same committee over questions of antisemitism and the school’s response to conflicts on campus over the Israel-Hamas war.

Nemat Shafik, Columbia’s leader, was originally asked to testify at the House Education and Workforce Committee’s hearing in December, but she declined, citing scheduling conflicts.

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The December hearing instead featured the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose lawyerly responses drew fierce backlash and fuelled weeks of controversy. The presidents of Penn and Harvard have since resigned.

During a heated line of questioning at the December hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik asked the university leaders to answer whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” would violate each university’s code of conduct.

Liz Magill, the then-president of Penn, and Claudine Gay, then-president of Harvard, both said it would depend on the details of the situation.

MIT president Sally Kornbluth said that she had not heard a calling for the genocide of Jews on MIT’s campus, and that speech “targeted at individuals, not making public statements”, would be considered harassment.

Almost immediately, the careful responses from the university presidents drew criticism from donors, alumni and politicians.

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