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House lawmakers flunk ‘so-called’ university presidents over spike in campus antisemitism

A House training panel gave “so-called” university presidents failing grades on Thursday for permitting antisemitic encampments to unfold on their campuses this spring — a part of demonstrations which in some circumstances blocked Jewish college students from getting into college buildings and disrupted last exams.

Northwestern University President Michael Schill, Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block confronted sharp questions from Republicans and a few Democrats about their dealing with of the demonstrations.

“These antisemitic protests have led to hijacking buildings, erecting unlawful encampments, disrupting classrooms, and canceling commencements,” House Education and Workforce Committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) stated in her opening remarks.

University Presidents Testify on Campus Protests and Antisemitism
The presidents of Northwestern, Rutgers, and UCLA testified on pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses--including allegations of antisemitism--as the Israel-Hamas war continues in Gaza.
Northwestern University President Michael Schill, Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway and University of California, Los Angeles, Chancellor Gene Block confronted sharp questions from Republicans and a few Democrats about their dealing with of antisemitic demonstrations. C-SPAN

“They have been the principal agents of anti-Jewish harassment and violence and have made an absolute mockery of so-called university leaders,” she added, telling them they should be “ashamed” of “capitulating” to protesters.

The presidents testified that they had authorized law enforcement and police to crack down on the Hamas-endorsed encampments, while blaming many of the worst actions on “outside” agitators.

They also acknowledged there had been a “disturbing spike” in “the open harassment and intimidation of Jewish people” since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre — but revealed that in more than 100 investigations across their campuses no protesters had been expelled.

University Presidents Testify on Campus Protests and Antisemitism
The presidents of Northwestern, Rutgers, and UCLA testified on pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses--including allegations of antisemitism--as the Israel-Hamas war continues in Gaza. The House Education and Workforce Committee held this hearing.
“These antisemitic protests have led to hijacking buildings, erecting unlawful encampments, disrupting classrooms, and canceling commencements,” House Education and Workforce Committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) stated in her opening remarks. C-SPAN

Hundreds of Jewish students and faculty released open letters on Thursday about antisemitic protesters at Rutgers praising Hamas’ terror attack as justified “resistance” and threatening to “globalize the Intifada.”

The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is also currently investigating “shared ancestry” discrimination complaints against both UCLA and Rutgers, while Jewish students have filed a federal lawsuit against Northwestern for failing to protect them.

In a tense exchange, House Republican conference chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) ripped Schill for receiving an “F” grade in fighting antisemitism from the Anti-Defamation League, which has also called for his ouster.

Signs are displayed outside a tent encampment at Northwestern University on Friday, April 26, 2024, in Evanston, Illinois. Leaders from Northwestern University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Rutgers University are expected to testify before Congress on Thursday, the latest in a series of hearings spearheaded by House Republicans into how colleges have responded to pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses.
Jewish college students have filed a lawsuit towards Northwestern University for failing to guard them from harassment and intimidation. AP

“Isn’t it true that a Jewish student was told to ‘go back to Germany and get gassed?’” Stefanik asked during a round of rapid-fire questions that also pressed for answers on claims other Jewish undergrads had been harassed, stalked, assaulted and spat upon.

“All of these are allegations that are being investigated,” Schill answered, without saying when each case would be resolved.

“This is why you’ve earned an ‘F,’” Stefanik shot back. “It is a fact, you said, that there have been zero suspensions, zero expulsions.”

University Presidents Testify on Campus Protests and Antisemitism
The presidents of Northwestern, Rutgers, and UCLA testified on pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses--including allegations of antisemitism--as the Israel-Hamas war continues in Gaza. The House Education and Workforce Committee held this hearing.
“This is why you’ve earned an ‘F,’” Stefanik barked at Schill of Northwestern’s failing anti-semitism report card from the Anti-Defamation League. “It is a fact, you said, that there have been zero suspensions, zero expulsions.” C-SPAN

“Thus far,” Schill replied, after having told Foxx earlier that some students had been disciplined in other ways.

Holloway, meanwhile, confirmed that four undergrads at Rutgers had been suspended in connection with the protests.

UCLA and Rutgers both received “D” letter grades on their ADL antisemitism report cards.

Schill also admitted to having caved to demonstrators’ demands for Northwestern to fully fund several visiting Palestinian faculty and students — without fully consulting the school’s Board of Trustees, Jewish undergrads or an advisory committee on preventing antisemitism.

University Presidents Testify on Campus Protests and Antisemitism
The presidents of Northwestern, Rutgers, and UCLA testified on pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses--including allegations of antisemitism--as the Israel-Hamas war continues in Gaza. The House Education and Workforce Committee held this hearing.
“I think we’re hearing that there’s no change going to take place at Northwestern University relative to anti-semitism” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) famous. C-SPAN

Seven members of the advisory committee have subsequently resigned in protest of the commitment Schill made to the protesters, known as the Deering Meadow agreement.

“We did not give in to any of the protesters’ demands, and the commitments we made are consistent with our values,” Schill claimed in his opening statement.

He refused to discuss the decision to keep a professor on that advisory committee who signed a petition defending a Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Israeli college students in a bombing — or the move to host another prof who said Zionists were “racial supremacists” and “the only thing that Palestinians and their sympathizers can do to make Zionists happy is to bend over and allow themselves to be royally screwed.”

University Presidents Testify on Campus Protests and Antisemitism
The presidents of Northwestern, Rutgers, and UCLA testified on pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses--including allegations of antisemitism--as the Israel-Hamas war continues in Gaza. The House Education and Workforce Committee held this hearing.
Holloway confirmed that 4 undergrads at Rutgers had been suspended — however none have been expelled. C-SPAN

“I’m not going to comment on the speech of our students or faculty or staff,” Schill responded.

“I think we’re hearing that there’s no change going to take place at Northwestern University relative to anti-semitism” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) noted after drawing Schill’s attention to the appalling conduct.

Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) pointed out that despite touting the role of education in addressing antisemitism, none of the presidents required anti-discrimination training of students or faculty.

Rutgers University professor Noura Erakat talks about the genocide going on in Palestine. A couple of hundred students occupy the area outside Dickson Hall on the campus of Princeton University, demanding a Free Palestine.
They presidents acknowledged a “disturbing spike” in “the open harassment and intimidation of Jewish people” since Hamas’ Oct. 7 bloodbath — however revealed that in greater than 100 investigations throughout their campuses no protesters had been expelled and solely a handful had been suspended. Aristide Economopoulos

“I have spoken with Jewish students, faculty members, alumni, who have described countless, horrifying and relentless incidents of harassment, intimidation, the use of Jewish tropes, the putting up of leaflets, the tearing down of hostage posters, the isolation of Jewish students, forcing them to leave official student groups, from student government to dance troupes,” she told the witnesses.

“Students were unable to get to class. They were afraid to go to the dining room. They could not study. They had classes and exams canceled,” Manning went on. “What has been described to me has been nothing short of the normalization of antisemitism on your campuses.

“But this normalization of antisemitism did not start on October 7. It predated that date by many years,” she added. “It has been fostered by years of teaching a one-sided, anti-Israel view by many of your professors, and by a demonization of Zionism, which is the centuries-old quest by the Jewish people to return to their ancestral homeland and control their own destiny.”

University Presidents Testify on Campus Protests and Antisemitism
The presidents of Northwestern, Rutgers, and UCLA testified on pro-Palestinian protests on their campuses--including allegations of antisemitism--as the Israel-Hamas war continues in Gaza. The House Education and Workforce Committee held this hearing.
Block’s UCLA and Holloway’s Rutgers each obtained “D” letter grades on their ADL anti-semitism report playing cards. C-SPAN

Freshman Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.) also grilled the university leaders on whether blocking students access to campus based on their race, religion or ethnicity “was an expellable offense.”

“Potentially it would be,” Holloway answered uneasily, hedging that it would “depend on the circumstances.”

“It could be,” Block agreed.

Demonstrators walk in an encampment on the UCLA campus after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups, Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Los Angeles.
Freshman Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.) additionally grilled the university leaders on whether or not blocking a UCLA Jewish pupil’s entry to campus “was an expellable offense.” AP

Kiley then played video footage of one UCLA undergrad who was blocked from entering the school by keffiyeh-clad demonstrators.

“Those people on the video who formed the blockade, have they been disciplined?” the congressman pressed.

Block said he “sent a message” after viewing the incident “to make sure that pathways are open for everyone,” adding that it was being investigated.

Students gather to show support for the people of Gaza on the campus of Northwestern University on April 25, 2024 in Evanston, Illinois.
“Students were unable to get to class. They were afraid to go to the dining room. They could not study. They had classes and exams canceled,” stated Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC). “What has been described to me has been nothing short of the normalization of anti-semitism on your campuses.” Getty Images

Other Democrats on the panel acknowledged a tripling of discrimination complaints, mostly for antisemitism, being filed at the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights — but accused their Republican colleagues of pushing last year for a 25% budget cut at the agency and criticized the chairwoman for holding a “politicized hearing.”

“Continuing to schedule repetitive, politicized hearings to attack college presidents will not solve the scourge of anti-semitism,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.).

“I’m also concerned about any suggestion that the first step to address protests should be to call police,” she added, ignoring portions of the presidents’ testimony that affirmed they had no choice once the demonstrations turned violent.

Police face-off with pro-Palestinian students after destroying part of the encampment barricade on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, California, early on May 2, 2024.
“This is absolutely shocking,” Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY) stated. “You allowed these encampments to persist on your campus, but you don’t know who was behind them, you don’t know what was there but they’re occupying and causing violence and chaos.” AFP by way of Getty Images

Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY) identified that failing to take police studies for most of the incidents might have additionally violated federal legislation — and expressed amazement that not one of the presidents may clarify who funded the tent cities.

“This is absolutely shocking,” Williams stated. “You allowed these encampments to persist on your campus, but you don’t know who was behind them, you don’t know what was there, but they’re occupying and causing violence and chaos.

“That is an astonishing admission to me,” he added, “and, I think probably, disingenuous.”

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