Washington, D.C. - Following her first round of questions in today’s Committee on Education & the Workforce hearing on “Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism,” Congresswoman Stefanik continued to question Harvard University President Claudine Gay, MIT University President Sally Kornbluth, and UPenn President, Elizabeth Magill about the rise of antisemitism on their campuses.
In her final line of questioning, the Presidents refused to say whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” is bullying and harassment according to their codes of conduct. Even going so far to say it needs to turn to “action” first.
Congresswoman Stefanik: Dr. Kornbluth, at MIT, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate MIT’s code of conduct or rules regarding bullying and harassment? Yes or no?
President Kornbluth: If targeted at individuals not making public statements.
Congresswoman Stefanik: Yes or no, calling for the genocide of Jews does not constitute bullying and harassment?
President Kornbluth: I have not heard calling for the genocide for Jews on our campus.
Congresswoman Stefanik: But you've heard chants for Intifada.
President Kornbluth: I've heard chants which can be antisemitic depending on the context when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.
Congresswoman Stefanik: So those would not be, according to the MIT's code of conduct or rules.
President Kornbluth: That would be investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.
Congresswoman Stefanik: Ms. Magill at Penn, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn's rules or code of conduct? Yes or no?
President Magill: If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment. Yes.
Congresswoman Stefanik: I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?
President Magill: If it is directed, and severe, pervasive, it is harassment.
Congresswoman Stefanik: So the answer is yes.
President Magill: It is a context dependent decision, Congresswoman.
Congresswoman Stefanik: It's a context dependent decision. That's your testimony today, calling for the genocide of Jews is depending upon the context, that is not bullying or harassment. This is the easiest question to answer. Yes, Ms. Magill. So is your testimony that you will not answer yes? Yes or no?
President Magill: If the speech becomes conduct. It can be harassment, yes.
Congresswoman Stefanik: Conduct meaning committing the act of genocide. The speech is not harassment. This is unacceptable. Ms. Magill, I'm gonna give you one more opportunity for the world to see your answer. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn's Code of Conduct when it comes to bullying and harassment? Yes or no?
President Magill: It can be harassment.
Congresswoman Stefanik: The answer is yes. And Dr. Gay at Harvard? Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard's rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?
President Gay: It can be depending on the context.
Congresswoman Stefanik: What's the context?
President Gay: Targeted at an individual targeted, as at an individual?
Congresswoman Stefanik: It's targeted at Jewish students, Jewish individuals. Do you understand your testimony is dehumanizing them? Do you understand that dehumanization is part of antisemitism? I will ask you one more time. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard's rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?
President Gay: Antisemitic rhetoric when it crosses into conduct, that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct, and we do take action.
Congresswoman Stefanik: So the answer is yes. That calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard Code of Conduct. Correct?
President Gay: Again, it depends on the context.
Congresswoman Stefanik: It does not depend on the context the answer is yes, and this is why you should resign. These are unacceptable answers across the board.