Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik participated in an Education and the Workforce Committee roundtable about the spread of antisemitism on campuses featuring testimonies from students from universities across the country.

Student participants from Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, University of California, Berkeley, Rutgers University, Stanford University, Tulane University, and Cooper Union were included. 


Watch her line of questioning here.

View the transcript of her line of questioning below. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: “Thank you so much Chairwoman Foxx, and thank you to each of the students for bravely sharing your testimony of your experiences that you have faced on campus. The inexcusable, hateful, and vicious antisemitism that these universities have allowed to take root and it is a rot that goes deep.

One of you testified that it’s not just about university presidents being removed, but that the fact that had to be pushed on places like Harvard for over a month was inexcusable. We need to continue to make sure that there is accountability to root out this rot of antisemitism. It is clear: It’s not just Harvard, Penn, and MIT, but each of these university leaders have failed. It is atrocious to hear the experiences that each of you have faced whether it’s threats of violent act or the horrific, horrific antisemitic statements. 

My question is for Mr. Kestenbaum from Harvard as well as Talia from MIT. Both of those university presidents, one in the case is former, were in that hearing that set off an earthquake and a reckoning. Can you talk to me: What the experience has been on campus after that hearing? So you have a removal of one university, and it’s gotten worse, the antisemitism, and you have a failure from the MIT board to remove the president, in Dr. Kornbluth, and it’s also gotten worse. Can you walk me through, specifically, the antisemitism task force and some of the other things you weren't able to get to in your testimony?”

Shabbos Kestenbaum, Harvard: “Absolutely, thank you for the question. And on behalf of the many Harvard students and faculty who are watching this right now, you are a hero for the Jewish community. So, really thank you, Congresswoman. The antisemitism committee is so remarkably useless that its most respected member and my Professor, Rabbi David Wolpe, resigned. It accomplished absolutely nothing that Harvard’s solution was we’re going to create a second task force. The co-chair of this task force is someone who has repeatedly and on the record stated that antisemitism at Harvard is ‘exaggerated.’ Its other co-chair resigned three days ago. I have emailed the antisemitism task force more than forty times–four, zero. I have not received a single response. When I say that Congress is our last hope it’s because Harvard has refused to take any responsibility, any accountability, and to help Jewish students. All of the acts of antisemitism that I listed in my speech all happened after Claudine Gay resigned. And I would also add that Claudine Gay is still getting paid 900,000 dollars. So what does that tell you about taking responsibility and protecting Jewish students when someone who can say that the calls for genocide against Jews is context-dependent gets to keep her job?”

Congresswoman Stefanik: “And MIT, in the case of Dr. Kornbluth, the fact that she remains as President, what message has that sent to the MIT community?” 

Talia Khan, MIT: “Well, immediately after that hearing, we heard from the MIT Corporation executive board members that they fully supported Dr. Kornbluth and every single thing that she said at that hearing including her failure to explicitly condemn calls for genocide on campus. And they said that they believe that she is doing an ‘excellent job’ in combating antisemitism on campus. So, immediately after that, we just get gaslighted by the MIT Corporation. And essentially, after that, they just doubled down in gaslighting us and, you know, creating this illusion that we are, you know, a small group crying wolf. And they essentially continued to tell us, ‘Oh. We’re working on things. Things are happening. We’re very concerned.’ But it's just all lip service, and they play this game where even when we tell them we got an email from a non-Jewish student who lives with a student who is a leading member of the Anti-Israel Club who has stated, very, you know, openly in his dorm, that ‘Violence against any Jew who supports Israel is acceptable’. And when we said this to Dr. Kornbluth and the rest of MIT administration, they acknowledged it. They didn’t do anything. And so, they're making up these things calling us, you know, saying that we are exaggerating or that they can’t police free speech, but this is not about free speech. And I think that’s one thing that we’ve noticed is that there are actual threats. There are people’s offices who have been attacked. People have banged on office doors, tried to unlock office doors, and that has nothing to do with free speech. That is people’s lives at risk. That is people fearing physical violence. There have been people calling for physical violence on our campus, and literally nothing has been done. And I have to walk through the halls, every Jew at MIT has to walk through the halls, seeing these people proudly walking around after they've broken rule, after rule, after rule and not been disciplined. And we've really, it’s really scary. Genuinely, we are genuinely fearful.”

Congresswoman Stefanik: “Well, thank you for that answer. And for the lawyers, for these universities have failed. If you think this is going to get brushed under the rug, the list is getting longer by the day. This Congress will not stop until we hold you accountable. That’s a promise.”