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GOP pledges to hold ‘mealy-mouthed spineless college leaders’ accountable in expanded antisemitism probe

Republican House leaders on Tuesday expanded their investigation into rampant antisemitism on college campuses amid out-of-control and violent anti-Israel protests unfolding at universities across the nation over the last two weeks.

The expansion has been billed as a Congress-wide initiative, building on a series of House Education and the Workforce Committee hearings held since December looking into extreme and severe campus antisemitism sparked since the Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 Israeli citizens and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx said at a press conference Tuesday that as “Republican leaders we have a clear message for mealy-mouthed spineless college leaders: Congress will not tolerate your dereliction of your duty to your Jewish students. American universities are officially put on notice that we have come to take our universities back.”

A House Education committee hearing titled “Calling for Accountability: Stopping Antisemitic College Chaos” has been scheduled for May 23 at which the presidents of Yale, UCLA, and Michigan are set to testify.

“No stone must go unturned while buildings are being defaced … college is not a park for play-acting juveniles or a battleground for radical activists,” Foxx said.

The expanded probe was spearheaded by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, who recently visited Columbia University amid unruly protests that continued Tuesday — including the seizure by activists of a campus building. Johnson, at the Tuesday press conference, cited the latest violence at Columbia and a lack of police enforcement as a major concern and called the protesters “terrorist sympathizers.” 

“They are proudly chanting ‘Death to America,'” Johnson said. “…Antisemitism is a virus.”

Johnson “announced a chamber-wide effort to combat antisemitism, with the chairs of multiple committees in attendance to detail how they will contribute to the investigation,” The Hill reported Tuesday, adding:

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Republican leadership is asking the committees to investigate “the billions of federal taxpayer dollars that go to these universities” and threatened to take away funding if the schools don’t get control of the campuses.

Johnson lamented that universities are not inviting police into their campuses to take care of the protesters, saying that is one of the policy changes Republicans are looking to see.

“Those are the policy changes that we’re demanding and if they don’t correct this quickly, you will see Congress respond in kind. You’re gonna see funding sources begin to dry up. You’re gonna see every level of accountability that we can muster and that’s what the work of these committees and these fine chairpersons are going to be involved in, and we’ll say stay tuned and you’ll see much more,” Johnson said.

Fox News reported that the committees involved are Education & the Workforce, Energy & Commerce, Oversight, the Judiciary, Ways & Means and the committee on Science, Space & Technology.

MORE: Columbia on lock down after pro-Palestinian protesters take over building

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.