The heads of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania said that „calling for the extermination of Jews” did not run counter to the code of conduct of their institutions.
Stunning scenes unfolded at a congressional hearing in which the heads of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania were asked whether „calling for the extermination of Jews” ran counter to the code of conduct of their institutions. All three university leaders responded that the answer depended on the context, reports the tev.hu.
The hearing came after the unprecedented divisions in US universities caused by the Hamas-Israel war and the already systematic use of pro-Palestinian and anti-Jewish rhetoric in higher education institutions.
The specific question read: „Does calling for the extermination of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules on harassment?”
Representative Elise Stefanik, who asked the question, was so shocked by the answers that she repeatedly asked each of the responding university leaders the same question, to which all three presidents, smiling cynically, gave the same answer.
The university leaders said that it all „depends on the context” and „whether the speech translates into behaviour”, i.e. whether it actually leads to the killing of Jews.
Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman wrote on X, „If a CEO of one of our companies gave a similar answer, he or she would be toast within the hour.”
Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment?
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 5, 2023
According to the businessman, it is because of leaders like Claudine Gay, Elisabeth Magill and Sally Kornbluth that antisemitism has exploded in universities and around the world.
Ackman added that „the presidents’ answers reflect the profound educational, moral and ethical failures that pervade certain of our elite educational institutions due in large part to their failed leadership,” adding that „to think that these are the leaders of Ivy League institutions that are charged with the responsibility to educate our best and brightest.”
However, Ackman applauded the conduct of the congressional leaders who asked the questions: „Our congressional leaders deserve credit for demonstrating tremendous leadership and moral clarity in their statements, questions, and respectful conduct of the hearing. We have seen a master class in how our government and our democracy should work.”