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House Members Call on Penn, MIT and Harvard to Fire Their Presidents

House Members Call on Penn, MIT and Harvard to Fire Their Presidents

Inside Higher Ed

Doug Lederman
December 8, 2023
Seventy-four members of Congress on Friday signed a letter urging the governing boards of Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania to fire their presidents as fallout continued from the campus leaders’ disastrous testimony during a hearing on antisemitism Tuesday.
“Testimony provided by presidents of your institutions showed a complete absence of moral clarity and illuminated the problematic double standards and dehumanization of the Jewish communities that your university presidents enabled,” wrote the lawmakers. … “[W]e demand that your boards immediately remove each of these presidents from their positions and that you provide an actionable plan to ensure that Jewish and Israeli students, teachers, and faculty are safe on your campuses.
“Anything less than these steps will be seen as your endorsement of what Presidents Gay, Magill, and Kornbluth said to Congress and an act of complicity in their antisemitic posture. The world is watching – you can stand with your Jewish students and faculty, or you can choose the side of dangerous antisemitism.”
The highly unusual request from nearly one in five members of the House of Representatives—all but three of whom are Republican—carries no legal weight. But the lawmakers’ letter was the latest sign of how much the politics of the Israel-Hamas war have poisoned the political climate surrounding higher education.
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