Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing, “Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism,” during which presidents from some of America’s most prestigious universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) were interviewed about the problem of antisemitism on their respective campuses. 

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY 21st District) questioned the presidents and, several times, gave them an opportunity to denounce calls for “genocide” of the Jewish people. Almost every time, the presidents failed.

ABC News reports, “Stefanik had asked Gay the hypothetical question: “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules on bullying and harassment?” Gay responded, “The rules around bullying and harassment are quite specific and if the context in which that language is used amounts to bullying and harassment, then we take, we take action against it.”

Gay’s answer, typical of a bureaucrat, reiterated the university’s policy but offered little moral clarity. Moreover, this was a congressional hearing, and the presidents had the opportunity to give fulsome answers, rather than yes or no, and they still failed to adequately condemn antisemitism.

Indeed, these are private institutions, no less universities, and as such, they may enforce their own codes of conduct. But the crux of the issue is that higher education institutions have robust resources for using correct pronouns, disciplinary proceedings for fatphobia, sizeism, and cisheterosexism, and draconian Title IX kangaroo courts for young men accused of sexual assault. And, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Harvard, UPenn, and MIT each released statements on the killing. However, a pogrom that killed the most Jews in one day since the Holocaust has been met mostly with hand-wringing and meetings

University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill resigned in the wake of the hearing, and as details emerge, we will see if other university presidents will, likewise, be held accountable for their actions.

There are two key takeaways from the hearings. 

First, on college campuses Jews do not count as those deserving of an “inclusive” educational environment, at least to the bureaucrats in charge. These schools use their almost-infinite resources (including multi-billion dollar endowments) to defend correct pronoun usage, cancel lectures if students disagree with the speaker’s personal beliefs, and support BLM, yet they do little to fight Jew hatred on their campuses.

Second, free speech only matters to these universities when it supports radical left-wing agendas, which include accusing Israel of “colonialism” and “genocide”. 

Since October 7, the radical Left’s hypocrisy has come to light. The congressional hearing was one of what will hopefully be many reckonings as Americans restore higher education to its original purpose—cultivating a life of the mind. 

Jonathan Haidt recently Tweeted, “…The only way to end antisemitism on campus is to end the identitarianism. Don’t be satisfied by a university president who promises a new center or commission on antisemitism. It won’t have much effect on campus culture as long as a critical mass of students (5-10%?) are taught to see everything through oppressor/victim glasses…” 

Jews, and all students, will not be served by creating another grievance group or scheduling more meetings. The outcome of the hearing should be ending DEI at universities and cultivating a culture of respect for every individual and the free exchange of ideas.