Harvard University President Dr. Claudine Gay faced a brutal grilling from House Republicans during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) dropped the hammer on Gay during a House committee hearing on the rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses.
Stefanik and her GOP colleagues challenged the Ivy League school’s leader for answers regarding students chanting for death and violence against Jews and Israel.
“Harvard students calling for the mass murder of African-Americans is not protected free speech at Harvard, correct?” Stefanik asked, leading to her point.
Stefanik demanded that Gay respond to the “yes or no question.”
The number three House Republican then asked the Harvard president if she was familiar with the term “intifada.”
Stefanik cited multiple instances of Harvard students chanting, “There is only one solution. Intifada, Revolution,” and “Globalize the intifada.”
The examples occurred since Hamas terrorists launched the October 7 massacre and Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza that followed.
“The use of the term intifada in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict is indeed a call for violent armed resistance against the state of Israel, including violence against, civilians and the genocide of Jews,” Stefanik stated.
Gay admitted she had heard the term before and said, “That type of hateful speech is personally abhorrent to me.”
The Harvard chief admitted that the chants calling for an intifada are a call for genocide against the Jewish people in Israel and globally.
However, she contended that such speech was “at odds with the values of Harvard.”
When pressed by Stefanik if those sorts of remarks were against Harvard University’s code of conduct, Gay deflected.
“We embrace a commitment to free expression, even of views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful. It’s when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our policies against bullying, harassment, and intimidation” Gay said before Stefanik interjected.
“Does that speech not cross that barrier?” Stefanik pressed.
“Does that speech not call for the genocide of Jews and the elimination of Israel?
“When you testify that you understand that is the definition of intifada, is that speech according to the code of conduct or not?”
“We embrace a commitment to free expression and give a wide berth to free expression, even of views that are objectionable, outrageous, and offensive,” Gay said in response.
Stefanik cited a report stating that Harvard ranked “dead last” when it comes to freedom of speech on college campuses in America.
“Will admissions officers be rescinded or any disciplinary action be taken against students or applicants who say, ‘From the river to the sea,’ or ‘intifada,’ advocating for the murder of Jews?” Stefanik pressed.
Gay responded by stating: “As I’ve said, that type of hateful, reckless offensive speech is personally abhorrent to me.”
Stefanik refused to back down, however, and demanded to know what action will be taken, specifically against “students who are harassing and calling for the genocide of Jews on Harvard’s campus?”
Gay claimed that she could not go into details of any ongoing actions due to privacy concerns.
Unable to get an answer from Gay on specific actions taken against students accused of anti-Semitism, Stefanik concluded by asking what the number one hate crime in America is.
“I know that over the last couple of months, there has been an alarming rise of anti-Semitism, which I understand is the critical topic that we are here to discuss,” Gay said.
“That’s correct,” Stefanik responded.
“It is anti-Jewish hate crimes.
“And Harvard ranks the lowest when it comes to protecting Jewish students.
“This is why I’ve for your resignation and your testimony today, not being able to answer with more clarity speaks volumes.”
At their press conference earlier Tuesday, the House Republican Conference heard from multiple students from Harvard, UPenn, and MIT before the hearing.
Harvard student Jonathan Frieden said, “Mulitple times a week on my way to class, I walk by mobs of people chanting ‘From the river to the sea’…I talk to my Jewish friends on campus every day.
“They tell me how afraid they are to go to class…”
“President Gay’s willingness to call chants of ‘Intifada’ and other hateful anti-Semitic speech ‘abhorrent’ is reassuring, but the next step is action,” another student, Charlie Covit, who leads the Israel on Campus Coalition, said.
“When students are saying ‘from the river to the sea Palestine will be Arab’ and clearly calling for violence against Jewish communities – and even interrupting classes to do so – we need to hear Harvard clearly state how it will discipline those who are voicing these hateful views.”