House Democrat says cutting federal funds for Harvard ‘needs to be on the table’

Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) on Sunday said cutting federal funds for Harvard University and other schools should be an option “on the table” over their handling of campus antisemitism.

Auchincloss, who is an alum of Harvard, visited the Ivy League school earlier this month amid the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests and argued the school’s handling of antisemitism might violate federal law.

When asked on “Fox News Sunday” if he believes Harvard should lose federal funding, Auchincloss said, “It needs to be on the table. Harvard and other universities have unfortunately become ransacked by antisemitism.”

“I have seen it in my conversations with Israeli and Jewish students. I have seen the fact pattern. And they need to look at their culture from first principles and actually create a culture of open discourse, of free speech, of mutual respect, in which people can pursue truth, in which everybody, regardless of nation of origin, of sex, of race, can have a suitable learning environment,” he added.

Bream pointed to a report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released last month that found Harvard, Tufts University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 10 other schools received failing grades for their policies on antisemitism prevention.

The school’s grades on the report were based on antisemitic incidents, “Jewish life on campus,” and administrative actions taken to fight antisemitism and protect Jewish students.

“Right now, Harvard is failing, and that is why, after the ADL reported those failing grades, I sent letters to the eight universities in Massachusetts that got a C or worse and asked them for an action plan by May 17th, which they have returned and which we are now reviewing with the ADL, to make sure that over the summer that they get their house in order,” Auchincloss told Bream.

The Hill reached out to Harvard for further comment.

The pro-Palestinians that took over college campuses for weeks called for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war and for universities and the U.S. to sever financial ties with Israel. Most of the protest groups rejected characterizations of their protests as antisemitic, pointing to some of the Jewish students participating in demonstrations.

Some schools, however, have reported isolated incidents of antisemitic rhetoric and Jewish students feeling unsafe on campus.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee last week released a report alleging Harvard failed to take action against antisemitism. The report accused Harvard of suppressing its own antisemitism task force’s recommendations, which were created after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks against Israel.

It follows months of investigation by the committee following the resignation of former President Claudine Gay, who stepped down from the post amid backlash over her comments made at a congressional hearing on antisemitism.

The House committee has repeatedly accused Harvard of ignoring requests for documents and not abiding by a subpoena the lawmakers sent the school. The school, meanwhile, claims it produced thousands of documents for the committee and seeks to continue to work with them on the issue.

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