The University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, is one of eight private universities in America known as the Ivy League. But after its president Liz Magill, along with other Ivy League presidents, testified before the U.S. Congress this week, those institutes of higher learning would more accurately be branded the “Poison Ivy League.”
Called to Capitol Hill for a hearing of the House Education Committee on the alarming rise of antisemitism and threats against Jewish students on college campuses across the United States, Magill and presidents Claudine Gay of Harvard University and Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) faced angry lawmakers demanding answers about why Jewish students are facing threats and assaults at the institutions they lead.
One by one, on national television, these alleged “leaders” stunned viewers and members of Congress with pathetic, weasel-worded answers to basic questions that a college freshman would have been embarrassed to submit in a term paper.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) asked each of the presidents whether calls for the genocide of Jews would violate their codes of conduct. The “politically-correct” responses that each one gave dumbfounded those in the hearing room and the people watching at home.
STEFANIK: Dr. Gay, a Harvard student calling for the mass murder of African Americans is not protected free speech at Harvard, correct?
GAY: Our commitment to free speech …
STEFANIK interrupts: It’s a yes or no question. Let me ask you this. You are president of Harvard, so I assume you’re familiar the term intifada, correct?
GAY: I’ve heard that term, yes.
STEFANIK: And there have been multiple marches at Harvard with students chanting, quote, There is only one solution intifada, revolution, and, quote, globalize the intifada. Is that correct?...Do you believe that type of hateful speech is contrary to Harvard’s code of conduct, or is it allowed at Harvard?
GAY: It is at odds with the values of Harvard.
STEFANIK: Dr. Kornbluth, at MIT, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate MIT’s code of conduct or rules regarding bullying and harassment? Yes or no?
KORNBLUTH: If targeted at individuals, not making public statements.
STEFANIK: Yes or no: Calling for the genocide of Jews does not constitute bullying and harassment.
KORNBLUTH: I have not heard calling for the genocide of Jews on our campus.
STEFANIK: Ms. Magill, at Penn, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s rules or code of conduct? Yes or no?
MAGILL: If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment. Yes.
STEFANIK: I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?
MAGILL: If it is directed and severe, pervasive, it is harassment.
STEFANIK: So, the answer is yes.
MAGILL: It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman.
STEFANIK: So, calling for the genocide of Jews is, depending upon the context, that is not bullying or harassment. This is the easiest question to answer. Yes, Ms. Magill. So is your testimony that you will not answer yes? Yes or no?
MAGILL: If the speech becomes conduct. It can be harassment, yes.
Stop just a moment and re-read President Magill’s last statement: “If the speech (calling for the genocide of Jews) becomes conduct. It can be harassment, yes.”
In other words, this “Ivy League” university president – who previously served seven years as dean of Stanford Law School – actually uttered on-the-record words to the United States Congress which boiled down to Jews having to be subjected to actual genocide before she would consider that being a violation of UPENN’s Harassment Policy.
Still not done digging herself a tunnel into the Academic Hall of Shame, Magill was asked by Congresswoman Stefanik if being submitted to sustained, repeated antisemitic speeches would constitute bullying or harassment on the UPENN campus, to which Magill replied: “It is a context-dependent decision, Congresswoman.”
I find it astonishing that a university charging an average on-campus tuition of almost $90,000 a year can have such a spineless, pitiful person as its president.
Prior to the shameful parade of obfuscation and doubletalk by these college presidents, new U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) hosted four students at a Capitol Hill news conference.
One of them – Talia Khan of M.I.T. – declared: “An Israeli student whose identity and personal info was sold online for a bounty has not left his dorm room for weeks out of fear due to death threats.”
She added that she was forced to leave her study group for her doctoral exams halfway through the semester because other group members told her that young people slaughtered at the Nova Music Festival by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 “deserved to die because they were partying on stolen land.”
University of Pennsylvania undergrad Eyal Yakoby said that it is depressing to see classmates and professors rallying in support of Hamas.
“I refuse to go back to 1939 when Jews had to hide their religious symbols,” he stated. “I used to think this was nonsense…until I was made aware that (university officials) recommended students not wear clothing or accessories related to Judaism.”
For his part, the Speaker of the House commended the students for their courage in speaking out, saying that their on-campus experience “sends a shiver down your spine. That this is happening in America is absolutely outrageous.”
Bravo, Speaker Johnson. As scripture reveals, He who speaks truth tells what is right. (Proverbs 12:17)
Unfortunately, his bold statements in support of college students probably means the Speaker’s chances of ever being appointed president of an Ivy League university in today’s America most likely will be buried next to the cold dead body of true academia.
Tom is a contributing editor for ALL ISRAEL NEWS. He has long served as vice president of News & Talk Programming for the Salem Radio Network and SRN News, the #1 Christian radio news network in the United States.