Columbia University leaders to get grilled by Congress at antisemitism hearing

Columbia University leaders to get grilled by Congress at antisemitism hearing - Politics - News

Columbia University Leaders Agree to Testify at Congressional Hearing on Campus Antisemitism

The leadership of Columbia University, including President Minouche Shafik and the co-chairs of the board of trustees, Claire Shipman and David Greenwald, have agreed to testify at an upcoming Congressional hearing on campus antisemitism. The House Education and Workforce Committee announced this development on Monday, setting the date for the hearing as April 17, 2023.

Columbia University’s President, Minouche Shafik, had previously been invited to testify at a contentious hearing in December 2022. At that time, presidents from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of Pennsylvania faced intense questioning about their institutions’ policies regarding antisemitic expressions. Despite the invitation, Shafik declined due to scheduling conflicts.

As a result of this incident and other severe cases of antisemitism on Columbia’s campus, the House Education Committee broadened its investigation to include Columbia University. They demanded the Ivy League school submit a wide range of documents to support their probe into these matters.

Republican Chairwoman of the committee, Virginia Foxx, emphasized the significance of addressing antisemitism on Columbia’s campus due to the numerous reports of assaults, harassment, and vandalism targeting Jewish students. “Some of the worst cases of antisemitic incidents have occurred at Columbia University,” she stated in a press release. “Given the severe and pervasive nature of these cases, as well as the Columbia administration’s failure to enforce its own policies to protect Jewish students, it is essential for the Committee to hear directly from Columbia’s leadership regarding how the school intends to address this issue.”

During a roundtable event hosted by the committee earlier in March, Eden Yadegar, a junior at Columbia University and president of Students Supporting Israel at Columbia University, shared her personal experiences with antisemitic attacks on campus. She recounted instances where Jewish students were physically assaulted by groups wielding sticks outside the university library and verbally harassed with threats like “Keep f—ing running.”

Columbia University has publicly condemned antisemitism, stating it is contrary to the school’s values. In a statement provided to News Finder on Monday, Columbia spokesperson Samantha Slater expressed the institution’s commitment to combating antisemitism and providing support for Jewish students. “Columbia is committed to combating antisemitism and we welcome the opportunity to discuss our work to protect and support Jewish students, as well as maintain a safe campus environment,” she said.

The Department of Education initiated investigations into several universities, including Columbia, following complaints about incidents involving alleged antisemitism and Islamophobia last November. Instances of intolerance and violence on campus have included a student being assaulted while hanging pro-Israel posters, as well as a mobile “doxxing” billboard displaying the names and faces of students who allegedly made statements critical of Israel in connection to the Hamas terror attack.

Assistant Professor Shai Davidai of Columbia Business School publicly criticized President Shafik last year for failing to address “pro-terror” voices on campus, labeling her a “coward.” The upcoming Congressional hearing offers an opportunity for Columbia University leadership to discuss their approach to addressing antisemitism on campus and implementing measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all students.