House committee presses UPenn for documents on discipline for antisemitism

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A U.S. congressional committee has requested documents from the University of Pennsylvania regarding the school’s “abysmal” response to antisemitism on its campus, the committee said Wednesday.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, sent a letter to the university’s leadership asking for all reports of antisemitic occurrences on campus and any documents showing disciplinary action taken by the institution since Jan. 1, 2021. 

Foxx wrote that the request comes as questions remain about the institution’s “willingness to address antisemitism seriously” following numerous statements that UPenn’s then-President Elizabeth Magill made during a congressional hearing last year.

“When asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews would violate Penn’s code of conduct, Ms. Magill replied that ‘it is a context-dependent decision,’” the letter reads, in part.

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Elizabeth Magill, then-President of the University of Pennsylvania, testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee on Dec. 5 in Washington, D.C., during a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Magill resigned in December following criticism of her statements at the hearing.

Foxx wrote that despite the resignations of Magill and Scott Bok, then-Chairman of Penn’s Board of Trustees, the institution’s failures in addressing antisemitism “extend well beyond the two leaders.”

UPenn campus

The Congressional Committee on Education and the Workforce has requested documents showing what disciplinary measures UPenn has taken regarding antisemitism on campus. (Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In the letter, Foxx accused UPenn of a “clear double standard” when defending how it addressed antisemitism on campus.

“In defense of this disgraceful record, Penn has cited its supposed commitment to free speech. … However, Penn has demonstrated a clear double standard by tolerating antisemitic vandalism, harassment, and intimidation, but suppressing and penalizing other expression it deemed problematic.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx

Rep. Virginia Foxx blasted the institution for having what she called a “disgraceful record” and “clear double standard” regarding antisemitism on campus. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File)

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The letter includes multiple examples of what the committee called a “deeply troubling pattern” of antisemitic incidents at the university that occurred both before and after the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel.

READ THE COMMITTEE LETTER – APP USERS, CLICK HERE:

The incidents cited in the letter ranged from occurrences of antisemitic graffiti to antisemitic statements made by students and instructors. The letter provided links to media articles regarding many of the incidents.

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The letter also says that emails threatening violence against Penn Hillel and a dormitory named after Jewish philanthropists were sent to Penn staff members, prompting an FBI investigation. 

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