National News from ABC

House Education launches formal investigation into MIT over antisemitism reports

In this June 30, 2015, file photo, pedestrians walk near a sign in front of the William Barton Rogers Building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. — Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

(WASHINGTON) — MIT is being formally investigated by the House Education and the Workforce Committee, the group of legislators announced Friday morning.

Now, following the testimonies from the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, each school from the education committee’s Dec. 5 hearing is currently being investigated by the committee.

“We have grave concerns regarding the inadequacy of MIT’s response to antisemitism on its campus,” Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R-North Carolina, said in a letter to the school.

The committee, which counts GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik among its members, was already investigating MIT’s policies and disciplinary measures following the December hearing, but it hadn’t formally requested documents from the university.

The committee’s investigation into MIT follows probes into other schools, including Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Those schools have been sent requests for documents that outline antisemitic incidents or acts on campus.

So far, Harvard has already been subpoenaed for what the committee called a “woefully inadequate” response to its investigation.

MIT President Sally Kornbluth, who testified before the committee in the December hearing, and MIT Corporation Chair Mark P. Gorenberg will receive the letter requesting documents in response to alleged antisemitism.

Rep. Foxx told ABC News her committee is “not quite ready” to have another hearing on this issue. But, in her letter, she said the university has exhibited “deeply troubling” antisemitism, including a Hillel intruder who is alleged to have verbally harassed Jewish students and urinated on a window of the building and the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid (CAA) harassing Jewish students and promoting violence. The letter also states CAA members “physically” prevented students from attending classes one day last fall during a blockade of the university’s main entrance.

The education committee is giving MIT a deadline of March 22 at 5:00 p.m. to submit documents related to all antisemitic acts or incidents since Jan. 1, 2021 — the committee requests documents that date back far enough for it to conduct a thorough investigation of the school’s handling of antisemitism.

As previously reported by ABC News, GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik pressed the presidents of MIT, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania on whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated the schools’ rules during a hearing last year. Harvard’s then-president, Claudine Gay, answered by saying the university gives “a wide berth to free expression,” while Penn’s then-president, Elizabeth Magill, said it was a context-dependent answer.

In the days following the hearing, Liz Magill stepped down. Weeks later, Claudine Gay also resigned.

Mounting a full pressure campaign on X earlier this year, Rep. Stefanik wrote “Two down. One to go,” which is in reference to MIT President Kornbluth, who testified alongside Magill and Gay.

However, Kornbluth has remained president at MIT and received full support from the school after the public backlash from the hearing.Talia Khan, a Ph.D. student at MIT who attended the hearing and has been a vocal opponent of her university’s policies, celebrated the committee’s investigation.

“The climate on campus has only gotten worse and worse, so they [MIT] need to acknowledge that there is a problem and they need to expose these documents publicly,” Khan told ABC News. “The world needs to see what they’ve been trying to cover up for the past five months [since the conflict between Hamas and Israel began].”

ABC News has reached out to MIT for comment but hasn’t heard back from the school.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App


Site Designed & Hosted by Eves Digital