Updated Feb 7, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House panel threatens Harvard with subpoena in antisemitism investigation

 Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) speaks ahead of the vote on The Protection of Women and Girls Sports Act during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on April 20, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Virginia Foxx at the U.S. Capitol last April. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

House Education Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) warned Harvard University on Wednesday that it will face a subpoena if it fails to provide documents related to the committee's antisemitism probe on college campuses.

Why it matters: The final warning comes as Harvard faces criticism from House Republicans and others over its handling of allegations of antisemitism on its campus.

What we're watching: Foxx gave Harvard until 5pm on Wednesday, Feb. 14 ET to provide the documents.

Driving the news: "The Committee has sought to obtain information regarding Harvard's response to the numerous incidents of antisemitism on its campus and steps taken to protect Jewish students, faculty, and staff," Foxx said in the letter.

  • "Harvard's responses have been grossly insufficient, and the limited and dilatory nature of its productions is obstructing the Committee's efforts," she said.
  • Foxx said the school's actions have "fallen far short of its commitments, producing mostly publicly available documents, while failing to turn over documents specified by the Committee and making inappropriate and inexplicable redactions."

Of note: Foxx noted that the university and two of the law firms that have represented the school "repeatedly have stated they would cooperate with the Committee's antisemitism investigation," including its interim president, Alan Garber.

  • In an interview with The Harvard Crimson last week, Garber said the university would "comply fully with the process" of the committee's investigation.

What they're saying: Jason Newton, a spokesperson for Harvard, said the university had held frequent conversations with the committee and intended to continue responding to requests as it received them.

  • "Harvard is cooperating with the Committee's inquiry and has provided extensive information with initial submissions made last month and several further responses," he said, adding the school has made eight submissions to the committee thus far.
  • "Harvard continues to combat any and every form of antisemitism on our campus. The safety and well-being of our students remains our top priority."

Zoom out: The Department of Education opened an investigation in November into Harvard regarding alleged discrimination incidents.

  • In January, a group of Harvard students sued the university for "a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment."
  • The students claimed that Harvard violated Title VI, selectively enforced its policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment and hired professors who support anti-Jewish violence.

Go deeper: Biden admin investigating Harvard over Palestinian, Muslim students' complaint

Editor's note: This story has been edited to add a response from a Harvard spokesperson.

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