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House leader threatens to subpoena Northwestern in antisemitism probe

‘Committee will not tolerate Northwestern’s obstruction of its oversight’

A U.S. House education committee leader demanded Northwestern University produce more information about its handling of antisemitism on campus in a letter Friday, alleging the institution’s administrators are “obstructing” a federal investigation.

In the letter, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx told university President Michael Schill and Board of Trustees Chair Peter Barris that she will subpoena the university if it fails to comply.

“The Committee will not tolerate Northwestern’s obstruction of its oversight and is prepared to compel the production of documents and testimony, if necessary,” the North Carolina congresswoman wrote in the letter, published on the committee’s website.

Foxx said the committee requested the documents May 10, but the university failed to comply.

Requests included documents and communications about pro-Palestinian protesters’ “Northwestern Liberated Zone” and the deal that administrators reached with the protesters to end their encampment.

In the agreement, the Illinois university promised to offer five full scholarships to Palestinian students, hire “two [Palestinian] faculty per year for two years,” and provide a house for Middle Eastern and Muslim students. It also agreed to create a committee to review its investments, The College Fix reported.

Foxx asked the university to provide the documents by June 17.

She also criticized President Schill’s May 23 testimony to the committee in her letter, saying it “impeded the Committee … by the fact that he pointedly refused to answer questions.”

Some of his statements were “at odds with the public record – including statements that contradicted the text of the Agreement … and demonstrated an overall attitude of contempt for the Committee,” Foxx wrote.

The congresswoman told Northwestern leaders they are accountable to the American people because their institution receives federal tax dollars.

“It is inappropriate to expect taxpayers to continue providing federal funding while Northwestern appears to be in violation of its obligations to its Jewish students, faculty, and staff under Title VI and defies the Committee’s oversight,” Foxx wrote.

A report by Crain’s Chicago Business states, “Northwestern told Crain’s it is currently reviewing the letter and does not have a comment at this time.”

Foxx previously criticized the university’s leaders during the May hearing, describing their agreement with pro-Palestinian protesters as “disgraceful,” The Fix reported at the time.

At the hearing, Schill told lawmakers the concessions were part of normal programming, and he made the agreement as the best way to end the encampment without further problems.

He also said the university is creating a task force on antisemitism. He told the committee that there has been a “despicable spike in antisemitism” on college campuses following the October 7, 2023 terrorist attack.

The House education committee is in the process of investigating antisemitism at a number of prominent and Ivy League universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Rutgers, and the University of California Los Angeles.

MORE: ‘Disgraceful’: Rep. Foxx criticizes Northwestern for deal with pro-Palestinian activists

IMAGE: U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce/YouTube

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.