Elite universities under scrutiny as Congress probes federal funds for antisemitic indoctrination, terrorism

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Widener Library at Harvard. Photo credit: Sen. Dan Sullivan

By ALAN WOOTEN | THE CENTER SQUARE

Congress’ probe into rising antisemitism on college campuses includes letters to the leaders of 10 prominent universities, with signatures led by a North Carolina congresswoman and leaders of five other key committees.

Citing confirmed legislative and oversight jurisdiction from the U.S. Supreme Court, six committees in the U.S. House of Representatives tell each institution it is seeking to “restore a safe learning environment” for students and “properly steward the taxpayer funds placed in your care.” Barnard, Columbia, Cal Berkeley, UCLA, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Penn, Rutgers and Cornell received letters signed by U.S. Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., Jason Smith, R-Mo., Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, James Comer, R-Ky., and Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

Respectively, they are chairwoman or chairman of committees on Education and the Workforce; Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce; Judiciary; Oversight and Accountability; and Science, Space & Technology.

“This Congress will not stand idly by and allow an environment hostile to Jewish students to persist,” the lawmakers wrote.

Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, and since then the Israelis have fought back. More than 37,000 are believed dead since then, including an estimated 35,000 Palestinians.

In America, college campuses are among places that have had unrest and in some cases encampments disrupting orderly flow of activities. The activities have ranged from peaceful to protestors changing a U.S. flag to one for Palestine, building takeovers, and destruction of property. In multiple cases, unlawful acts have been both by students and by people who are not students but joined the campus protests.

The letter reads in part, “The House of Representatives will not countenance the use of federal funds to indoctrinate students into hateful, antisemitic, anti-American supporters of terrorism.”

The U.S. representatives say postsecondary education is an opportunity “for students to learn and have their ideas and beliefs challenged.” Universities cannot, they say, receive “hundreds of millions of federal funds annually” and deny students that opportunity because campuses “have been hijacked to become venues for the promotion of terrorism, antisemitic harassment and intimidation, unlawful encampments, and in some cases, assaults and riots.”

In each letter, leaders get an outline of how long the investigation has been ongoing for each respective committee and why there is a probe. What happens next for each school is unclear; some have already been called to testify in Washington.

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