On Tuesday, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) rigorously grilled the President of Harvard University, Claudine Gay, regarding the institution’s stance on free speech and its handling of hate speech, particularly recent anti-Semitic sentiments made on campus.
Stefanik began by probing the limits of free speech at Harvard, asking, “A Harvard student calling for the mass murder of African-Americans is not protected free speech at Harvard, correct?”
She further delved into specific instances, highlighting student marches chanting for an “Intifada,” and questioned, “You understand that the use of the term intifada in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict is indeed a call for violent armed resistance against the state of Israel, including violence against civilians and the genocide of Jews.”
“Are you aware of that?”
On Tuesday, the presidents of Harvard, along with those of MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, were scheduled to testify at a U.S. House of Representatives committee hearing. Several Harvard student groups have made statements blaming Israel for the violent actions of Hamas. As a result, these statements have drawn significant political attention and criticism.
The criticism centers around the student groups incorrectly placing blame on Israel for the barbaric terrorist attacks by Hamas. Over 30 student organizations at Harvard, including the university’s affiliate of Amnesty International, have been reported to place blame on Israel for Hamas’ actions.
At today’s hearing, Harvard’s President shamefully refused to say whether the calling for the mass violence and genocide of the Jewish people is considered harassment or bullying according to Harvard’s own code of conduct.
Claudine Gay should resign immediately. pic.twitter.com/gjzmTHUcec
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) December 5, 2023
Harvard President Gay responded by alluding to the university’s commitment to free speech, even when faced with offensive and hateful speech. Gay clarified, “It’s when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our policies against bullying, harassment, and intimidation.” However, she refrained from commenting on specific disciplinary cases, citing student privacy and ongoing processes.
“Do you know what the number one hate crime in America is?” Stefanik asked.
“I know that over the last couple of months, there has been an alarming rise of anti-Semitism, which I understand is the critical topic that we are here to discuss,” Gay responded.
“That’s correct. It is anti-Jewish hate crimes,” Stefanik finished. “Harvard ranks the lowest when it comes to protecting Jewish students. This is why I’ve called for your resignation.”