Ivy League presidents reckon with swift backlash to remarks on campus antisemitism

by Lucas Garcia
Campus Antisemitism

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Campus Antisemitism

What were the remarks made by the University presidents regarding campus antisemitism?

The University presidents, including Penn President Liz Magill, were questioned during a congressional hearing on how their institutions had responded to instances of antisemitism on campuses. Their responses were carefully worded and faced swift backlash, particularly regarding whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” would violate university codes of conduct.

How did President Magill and others respond to the question about hate speech?

President Magill initially stated that whether hate speech crossed the line into violating university policies depended on context. She later expanded on her answer, emphasizing that a call for the genocide of Jewish people would be considered harassment or intimidation.

What actions did the White House and House Education and Workforce Committee take in response to the presidents’ responses?

The White House spokesperson criticized the university presidents’ responses for not strongly condemning antisemitism and called for standing firmly against calls for genocide. The House Education and Workforce Committee, led by Republicans, announced plans to take “additional action” to hold Harvard, MIT, and Penn accountable. They will review the schools’ policies and disciplinary records.

Did experts provide any legal context for the university presidents’ responses?

Free speech experts noted that the college presidents’ answers, although uncomfortable, followed current interpretations of the First Amendment. They explained that deeply hateful speech is protected unless it constitutes a true threat, incitement to imminent violence, or harassment, as defined by the law.

What were the reactions from political figures and officials regarding the university presidents’ responses?

Some political figures, such as Rep. Elise Stefanik, called for the resignation or removal of the university presidents, deeming their answers inadequate. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro criticized President Magill’s response and called for moral clarity in leadership, suggesting that the university’s board should make a serious decision about her leadership.

More about Campus Antisemitism

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WordNerd2023 December 8, 2023 - 6:31 am

First Amendment protects hateful speech, tough call. But calling for genocide? NOPE.

NewsJunkie99 December 8, 2023 - 9:02 pm

Magill, Gay, Kornbluth, grilled on campus antisemitism, no clear answers. White House unhappy, Rep Stefanik wants them gone!

PoliWatcher77 December 8, 2023 - 10:19 pm

Shapiro calls Magill’s response unacceptable. Uni board, time for serious decision!

commenter123 December 8, 2023 - 11:10 pm

Uni prez’s backpedal on antisem remarks? Swift backlash, no surprise. Call for genocide = bad, very bad.


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