Does the Ivy League Tolerate Antisemitism?

Harvard said using the wrong pronouns is abuse but calling for the genocide of Jews is less clear.

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Pressure is mounting on the presidents of Harvard and MIT to resign — as the University of Pennsylvania president recently did — after they refused to say whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct during a congressional hearing.

  • Instead: The presidents said it was context-dependent and it would only violate rules if the words turned to action, and/or if the threat was against an individual rather than a group.

  • Also, The presidents were prepped by large law firms with large “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” apparatuses in place, which suggests such answers might not have been delivered off the cuff.

Double standard: A mandatory Harvard training session last year said using incorrect pronouns constitutes abuse and fatphobia contributes to an atmosphere of violence. Many have pointed out it is inconsistent for Harvard’s president to also say the university is unsure whether actual calls for violence violate the code of conduct.

  • Why it matters: This episode can be a microcosm of what happens when universities replace meritocracy with “woke” ideology.

Fallout: The backlash from the hearing was swift. There were and still are widespread calls for the presidents’ resignations, Penn lost a $100 million donation, the House Education Committee announced it would be opening a formal investigation into antisemitism at these universities, and a prominent rabbi resigned from Harvard’s antisemitism board.

  • The response: Harvard’s Claudine Gay released a statement apologizing for her testimony and Penn’s Liz Magill released a video message condemning calls for genocide and committing to reevaluate the school’s policies. President Magill later resigned.

A new twist: While the Harvard board met about Gay, Christopher Rufo, and Christopher Brunet alleged she plagiarized parts of her dissertation. At least two senior Harvard faculty said the allegations were serious, but others weren’t so convinced.

  • What’s next? As pressure mounts, many are watching for whether Harvard will oust Gay. MIT, meanwhile, has made it clear that its president is not going anywhere, writing she “has our full and unreserved support.”

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