Congress expands antisemitism probe into 10 colleges and threatens billions in federal funding

The committees are out to determine if any of the schools in question are guilty of violating Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

By Adam Kredo, The Washington Free Beacon

Six congressional oversight committees on Monday initiated a wide-ranging probe into anti-Semitism at 10 top American colleges and are laying the groundwork to potentially cut off billions of dollars in federal funding to these institutions, according to a series of letters obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon.

“Investigations into campus antisemitism by the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Ways and Means have been expanded into a Congress-wide probe across all relevant jurisdictions to address this national crisis,” six Republican committee chairmen wrote in letters addressed to Harvard University, Columbia University, MIT, Barnard, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Rutgers University, and the University of California’s Berkeley and Los Angeles branches.

Each of these schools has been in the national spotlight for their failure to curb mass anti-Israel protests that have endangered Jewish students and drawn accusations that university leaders are unable and unwilling to stem rising anti-Semitism on campus.

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The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has been leading its own investigation into pervasive anti-Semitic harassment on these campuses for several months now, and the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability joined the probe in mid-May, when it requested federal authorities turn over internal information on nearly two dozen nonprofit groups that are bankrolling the protests and could be guilty of violating anti-money laundering and terrorism laws. Several of the House’s most powerful committees will now join the investigation to determine if the 10 schools should have their federal funding slashed for violating Jewish students’ civil rights.

This includes the Committee on Ways and Means, which has broad jurisdiction over the tax-exempt status provided to these institutions; the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees civil liberties and criminal law enforcement; the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which controls the federal agencies providing lucrative grants to universities; and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which oversees coveted research and development projects conducted at many of the schools.

“The U.S. House of Representatives is deeply concerned by ongoing and pervasive acts of antisemitic harassment and intimidation” on campus, the committee leaders wrote in separate letters to each of the 10 universities. “Failing to act decisively to ensure a safe learning environment for all students would be a grave dereliction of your responsibilities.”

The committees are out to determine if any of the schools in question are guilty of violating Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which requires the recipients of federal funds to protect minorities, including Jews.

“This Congress will not stand idly by and allow an environment hostile to Jewish students to persist,” the GOP leaders wrote in their letters informing each school of the joint investigation.

“The fight against antisemitism is not a partisan issue,” the letters state. “The undersigned Committee chairs are proud to conduct this work with substantial bipartisan support and will not rest until the facts are known.”

Congress, they add, will ensure each of the schools provide “a safe learning environment for your students and properly steward the taxpayer funds placed in your care.”

Each of the aforementioned schools rely heavily on federal funding. Harvard, for instance, took in $625 million in taxpayer funds in 2021 alone, accounting for 67 percent of its total sponsored revenue. Columbia got around $1.2 billion in 2023, while UPenn received upwards of $955 million in the same year, according to Fox News.

Leaders from Columbia, Harvard, MIT, and Northwestern have all testified before Congress in recent months, and struggled to answer questions from lawmakers about how they’re addressing anti-Semitic harassment, bullying, and other demonstrations on campus that have featured support for the Hamas terror group and calls for Israel’s destruction.

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A group of Jewish students is suing Harvard for permitting “cruel anti-Semitic bullying, harassment, and discrimination” on campus, and Harvard was also recently accused in a congressional report of ignoring its in-house anti-Semitism task force and sweeping aside multiple documented cases of anti-Semitic harassment.

Additionally, Northwestern University president Michael Schill is facing calls from Jewish groups to resign after he testified before Congress in late May about anti-Israel protests on his campus.