(LibertySociety.com) – Colleges and universities across the United States have faced unrelenting scrutiny since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned days after testifying before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where she and several other university presidents faced tough questions from lawmakers. Harvard University President Claudine Gay resigned weeks later after her testimony sparked curiosity about her educational credentials, which led to plagiarism accusations. Both were accused of not doing enough to protect Jewish students on campus, in addition to failing to properly condemn Hamas.
Despite the attention, 67 members of Harvard’s faculty recently formed a new chapter of the Faculty for Justice in Palestine group. There are currently 80 such chapters in the United States. The faculty members announced the new chapter in a statement on January 6, which included a list of demands for Harvard. The statement said that the university should divest from the Jewish state, as well as from any companies that “sustain Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism, and systemic human rights abuses of Palestinians.”
The group blamed the United States government, the media, and other institutions for running cover for Israel’s actions. The group also accused universities in the United States of censoring and surveilling students and staff who engage in or teach “speech that is critical of the state of Israel.” A student group Justice for Palestine has held several anti-Israel protests on Harvard’s campus since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war. Many Jewish students have been targeted on campus by members of the group. Some have filed lawsuits accusing the university of failing to provide proper protections and hiring professors who have supported violence against Jewish people.
Interim Harvard President Alan Garber announced two new task forces on January 19 to address concerns and provide assurance that students will be protected. One task force aims to combat antisemitism, while the other looks to combat islamophobia on campus.
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