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Republican-led House committee subpoenas Harvard officials for docs in antisemitism probe

Republican-led House committee subpoenas Harvard officials for docs in antisemitism probe

The Republican chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee announced subpoenas Friday against Harvard University officials over what she said was a failure to produce certain documents related to the panel’s antisemitism investigation.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, of North Carolina, said the subpoenas were issued to Harvard Corporation senior fellow Penny Pritzker, interim Harvard President Alan Garber and Harvard Management Company CEO N.P. Narvekar.

Foxx said that so far, around 40% of the documents provided by Harvard were already publicly available.

“Last week, I made it very clear to Harvard that the documents it had produced up to that point were severely insufficient,” Foxx said in a statement Friday.

The documents say the committee “formally initiated an investigation into Harvard’s handling of on-campus antisemitism” on Jan. 9.

The subpoenas, among other things, seek “all reports of antisemitic acts or incidents and related documents and communications since January 1, 2021.”

The subpoenas come about six weeks after then-Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned following backlash to her congressional testimony at a hearing on campus antisemitism that was called by Foxx’s committee. Gay was also accused of plagiarism in her academic work.

The Hamas terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and the subsequent monsthlong Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip have sparked divisions on college campuses, with Jewish and Muslim students raising concerns about hate speech and threats.

Republicans seized on testimony at the December hearing, during which Gay and her counterparts at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology appeared to sidestep questions about whether calls for the genocide of Jews violated their schools’ conduct rules.

The White House also criticized the university leaders’ testimony.

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill stepped down after the congressional testimony and the controversy.

Gay repeatedly condemned both antisemitism and Islamophobia, but critics pounced on her legalistic response to questioning at the congressional hearing, particularly when she was asked whether students who call for the genocide of Jews are in violation of the campus code of conduct.

In a New York Times op-ed published a day after her resignation was announced, Gay wrote that the campaign against her “was merely a single skirmish in a broader war to unravel public faith in pillars of American society.”

“Yes, I made mistakes. In my initial response to the atrocities of Oct. 7, I should have stated more forcefully what all people of good conscience know: Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks to eradicate the Jewish state,” Gay wrote in the Times.

Phil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

Kyle Stewart

Kyle Stewart is an associate producer covering Congress for NBC News.

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