BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The presidents of Harvard University, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday over concerns about rising antisemitism on college campuses since the Israel-Hamas War began.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held the hearing. During her opening statement, committee chair Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) claimed that Harvard was "ground zero for antisemitism" after Hamas' terrorist attack on Oct. 7.
At the hearing, Harvard President Dr. Claudine Gay acknowledged that antisemitism has been growing on Harvard's campus since Oct. 7, but said that Islamophobia is also on the rise.
"I know many in our Harvard Jewish community are hurting and experiencing grief, fear, and trauma. I have heard from faculty, students, staff, and alumni of incidents of intimidation and harassment. I have seen reckless and thoughtless rhetoric shared in person and online, on campus and off," she said. "At the same time, I know members of Harvard's Muslim community are also hurting."
Gay said the school is working to "confront hate while preserving free expression." Harvard has increased security, "expanded reporting channels, and augmented counseling, mental health and support services," Gay said. In late October, the school formed a panel specifically to fight antisemitism on campus.
MIT President Dr. Sally Kornbluth said her administration is working to combat antisemitism, but also acknowledged the importance of free speech on college campuses.
"In practice, speech codes do not work. Problematic speech needs to be countered with other speech and with education. And we are doing that," Kornbluth said. "However, the right to free speech does not extend to harassment, discrimination, or incitement of violence in our community."
Kornbluth also talked about a new program the school has on campus called 'Standing Together Against Hate.' It is designed to address not only antisemitism, but also a rise in Islamophobia.
WBZ NewsRadio's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) reports: