Harvard University is obstructing a congressional probe into campus-wide anti-Semitism, leading lawmakers to warn the Ivy League school that it will face a deluge of subpoenas if it continues to stonewall the investigation.
“Harvard’s responses have been grossly insufficient, and the limited and dilatory nature of its productions is obstructing the Committee’s efforts,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, wrote to interim Harvard president Alan Garber on Wednesday.
Harvard has until Feb. 14 to produce documents outlining its internal response to a growing wave of anti-Semitism on campus, including records that could show the school failed to adequately protect Jewish and pro-Israel students. The committee initiated its probe in December, following then-Harvard president Claudine Gay’s testimony before Congress, in which she failed to denounce violence and hateful rhetoric against Jews. Since then, “Harvard has produced only one document of significance in response to the Committee’s request,” according to Foxx. Gay ultimately resigned her post.
“If the above priority requests are left unfulfilled by the deadline set above, the Committee is prepared to issue a subpoena,” Foxx wrote to the school.
The warning is likely to further inflame tensions between Harvard and Republican lawmakers, who have been locked in a battle with the Ivy League school over accusations that anti-Semitism on campus has spiraled out of control, threatening Jewish students’ safety.
“Somehow, almost two months after the Committee first informed Harvard of its intent to request production of specific documents, and a month after the Committee provided particularized requests, Harvard provided only a single meaningful document to the Committee in its antisemitism investigation,” Foxx wrote. “Harvard’s failure to produce documents requested by the Committee in a timely manner is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Though Harvard has turned over scores of publicly available documents to the committee, it heavily redacted many of them, causing confusion at the House committee.
“Harvard provided more than a thousand pages of student handbooks, university rules, and letters from external stakeholders. Every document in this production was publicly available in unredacted form,” Foxx wrote. “Yet, these documents contained numerous bewildering redactions, even going so far as to redact the name of the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League from his signing of a public letter.”
Harvard retained two law firms after the House committee launched its probe last year. The school has said it will aid the investigation into anti-Semitism.