A poll for DailyMail.com has revealed that a majority of Americans think the presidents of Harvard and M.I.T. should resign after their Capitol Hill testimony on anti-Semitism on campuses. Voters believe that M.I.T. president Sally Kornbluth and Harvard university president Claudine Gay must go, after failing to condemn the rising incidents of hatred on their university campuses.
While some 56 percent of respondents said the presidents should resign, only 21 percent believe they should remain in their positions.The presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were called on December 5 to testify about increasing concerns of anti-Semitism on their campuses. The hearing was titled ‘Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism,’ and was attended by Claudine Gay of Harvard, Elizabeth Magill of Penn and Sally Kornbluth of MIT. The trio was questioned by the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
The presidents were grilled for several hours, and were asked questions about their disciplinary actions toward students involved in anti-Semitic acts. They were also asked how their hiring practices made sure their faculty represent diverse viewpoints, and what measures they are taking to ensure safety on campus.
Out of everything they said, they have been especially criticised for their approach towards a question on whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” is against the universities’ respective codes of conduct. When New York Republican Representative Elise Stefanik asked this question, all three presidents claimed the answer depends on the context.
“It is a context-dependent decision,” said Magill, to which Stefanik replied, “Calling for the genocide of Jews is dependent on the context? That is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer ‘yes,’ Ms. Magill.”
Gay responded to the same question, saying, “When speech crosses into conduct, we take action.”
Kornbluth said that such language would be “investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.”
As Gay faced mounting pressure to resign, the situation was made worse when a complaint received by Harvard University on Tuesday, December 19, outlined more than 40 allegations of plagiarism against her. The new allegations were submitted to Harvard’s research integrity officer, Stacey Springs. These included examples reported by the Washington Free Beacon and other outlets. Now, a Republican-led congressional committee is now investigating these allegations against Gay.