Orthodox Union Reacts To House Committee’s Findings That Harvard Was Unresponsive To Antisemitism

Posted on May 16, 2024 In Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, commends the House Committee on Education & the Workforce for its thorough investigation into Harvard University’s reckless negligence in the face of rising antisemitism on campus. We’d also like to express our sincerest gratitude to Committee Chair Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) for shedding light on this critical issue with the goal of holding higher education institutions accountable.

The report mirrors the distressing reality playing out at Harvard and universities nationwide: an indifference toward Jewish students’ safety and well-being.

Nathan Diament, Executive Director of Public Policy at the Orthodox Union, said: “Even after Harvard’s then-president, Claudine Gay, set up an advisory committee to tackle the unfolding chaos on campus, she failed to take its advice, proving that the committee’s creation was all for show—not action. This blatant disregard undermines Americans’ trust in the higher education community and perpetuates a cycle of inaction in the face of escalating concerns. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case with the interim president of the university as well.”

Some of the alarming findings include:

  • Failure to investigate and discipline alleged acts of antisemitism
  • An inadequate response to curtail antisemitism within pro-Palestinian protests
  • President Claudine Gay’s disregard for consulting with the advisory group on antisemitism ahead of her congressional testimony
  • Harvard’s refusal to publicly disclose the number of cases of reported antisemitic harassment
  • Failure to investigate why its Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging was ill-equipped to address issues of harassment of Jewish and Israeli students

Nathan Diament continued: “We urge the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to rapidly conclude its Title VI investigation into Harvard and swiftly impose the appropriate sanctions. Furthermore, we urge the Senate to break its silence on this crisis by scheduling hearings on campus antisemitism within the Senate Education Committee and other relevant governing bodies.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for our community and for Americans who believe every student, regardless of their background, deserves a safe and inclusive learning environment. We are pleased that the House Committee on Education & the Workforce took a step in the right direction, and we will continue to call upon our elected and appointed leaders to take decisive action to ensure our higher education institutions uphold the basic American principles we hold dear.”