Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a senior member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, had multiple rounds of questions for President of Columbia University Dr. Nemat Shafik, Board of Trustees Co-Chairs Claire Shipman and David Greenwald, and Columbia Law School Dean Emeritus and Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law & Economics Professor David Schizer on the presence of anti-Jewish protests on their campus.

Stefanik also secured a commitment from President Shafik to remove Joseph Massad as Chair of the Academic Review Committee after Massad described the October 7th attacks on Israel as “astonishing,” “astounding,” and “awesome.”



Watch her full line of questioning here.

Read a full transcript of her line of questioning below:

Congresswoman Stefanik: Dr. Shafik, you answered one of the questions of our colleagues across the aisle. You said there has been no anti-Jewish protests. Do the other individuals on the panel agree with that? Let’s start with you Professor Schizer.

Dean Emeritus and Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law & Economics Professor David Schizer: So I think there have been antisemitic protests, so I would say yes.

Congresswoman Stefanik: So you disagree? There have been anti-Jewish protests. Ms. Shipman?

Board of Trustees Co-Chair Claire Shipman: I know there have been a number of incidents, especially one at our law school recently that the students were trying to call a protest, but it was an event to harass admitted students who were Jewish and it's outrageous. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: So that’s anti-Jewish, so the answer would be yes?

Co-Chair Shipman: Yes. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: And Mr. Greenwald?

Board of Trustees Co-Chair David Greenwald: There have been antisemitic events on campus which I interpret as anti-Jewish.

Congresswoman Stefanik: And Dr. Shafik, you realize that at some of these events, the slurs and the chants have been ‘F the Jews,’ ‘death to Jews,’ ‘F Israel,’ ‘no safe place,’ ‘death to the Zionist state,’ ‘Jews out,’ you don't think those are anti-Jewish?

President Shafik: Completely anti-Jewish. Completely unacceptable. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: So you changed your testimony on that issue as well? So there have been anti-Jewish protests.

President Shafik: I didn’t get to finish my sentence. So, what I was going to say was there were protests that were called, that were– 

Congresswoman Stefanik: That’s not what you were asked. You were asked were there any anti-Jewish protests and you said ‘No’. 

President Shafik: So the protest was not labeled as an anti-Jewish protest. It was labeled as an anti-Israeli government. But antisemitic incidents happened or antisemitic things were said. So I just wanted to finish.

Congresswoman Stefanik: I’m not asking what it was labeled. The question wasn’t what it was labeled. It was a Anti-Jewish protest. You agree with that? You change your testimony? 

President Shafik: Congresswoman, anti-Jewish things were said at protests, yes. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: Thank you for changing your testimony. Another instance when you changed your testimony is: You stated that Professor Massad was no longer Chair. Then you stated he’s under investigation. He is still chair on the website. So, has he been terminated as chair? 

President Shafik: Congresswoman, I want to confirm the facts before getting back to you.

Congresswoman Stefanik: I know you confirmed that he was under investigation.  

President Shafik: Yes, I can confirm that. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: Did you confirm he was still the chair? 

President Shafik: I need to confirm that with you. I want to – I need to check. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: Well, let me ask you this: Will you make the commitment to remove him as chair? 

President Shafik: I think that would be – I think I would, yes. Let me come back with yes. But I think I just want to confirm his current status before I reply. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: We’ll take that as a yes, that you will confirm that he will no longer be chair. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: Ms. Shipman, was there an effort to get other trustees to sign a letter supporting President Shafik? 

Co-Chair Shipman: No. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: There was not?

Co-Chair Shipman: No.

Congresswoman Stefanik: Will you comply with all document requests related to email correspondence regarding any potential letter? Because board members have come forward anonymously to this committee raising the issue of a letter that was circulated that members of the boards did not sign on in support. Are you testifying today under oath you have no knowledge of any draft letter in support of Dr. Shafik?

Co-Chair Shipman: No knowledge whatsoever. And my understanding is we are fully complying and ready to give you whatever you need. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: Mr. Greenwald, are you aware of any letter that was circulated?

Co-Chair David Greenwald: No, that's surprising to me.

Congresswoman Stefanik: Professor David, are you aware?

Professor David Schizer: Not at all.

Congresswoman Stefanik: My final question is: There's been a lot of discussion on Columbia putting out a statement against calling for the genocide of Jews. That statement was put out after the catastrophically, morally repugnant answers by your colleagues from MIT, Penn, and Harvard, correct? That was when you put out that statement after that hearing?

Dr. Shafik: Congresswoman, you shed light on an important issue. 

Congresswoman Stefanik: I'm just asking you when you put it out. It was after that hearing.

Dr. Shafik: It was definitely after it because, frankly, it seemed obvious.

Congresswoman Stefanik: You are aware that Congress voted 377 to 44 condemning antisemitism. That is a strong bipartisan vote. Would you support that vote condemning antisemitism?

Dr. Shafik: Yes.

Congresswoman Stefanik: And you are aware that in that bill, that got 377 Members out of 435 Members of Congress, condemns ‘from the river to the sea’ as antisemitic?

Dr. Shafik: Yes, I am aware of that.

Congresswoman Stefanik: But you dont believe ‘from the river to the sea’ is antisemitic?

Dr. Shafik: We have already issued a statement to our community saying that language is hurtful and we would prefer not to hear it on our campus.

Congresswoman Stefanik: You prefer not to hear it, or is there disciplinary action taken against students of those antisemitic statements? I want an answer to that question. 

Dr. Shafik: I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?

Congresswoman Stefanik: Has there been disciplinary action taken against students who have chanted ‘from the river to the sea’ which you have testified as antisemitic and which Congress has voted that it is antisemitic?

Dr. Shafik: We have some disciplinary cases ongoing around that language. We have specified that those kinds of chants should be restricted in terms of where they happen. We are looking at it. We are looking at it.