The Fallout: What the Antisemitism Hearing Could Mean for Higher Education

December 07, 2023 1 min read

1 Comment

Katherine Knott
Inside Higher Ed

Excerpt: The failure of three college presidents to clearly say Tuesday that calling for the genocide of Jewish people violated their campus policies quickly went viral on social media—galling alumni, free speech experts and advocates in the Jewish community alike.

The high-profile hearing featured sharp criticisms and fiery exchanges over how Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have responded to campus protests in support of the Palestinian people and their free speech policies. House Republicans also used their platform to air conservative grievances about higher education more broadly. As the metaphorical smoke cleared, we wanted to know what the remarkable hearing—which has already spurred more calls for the three presidents to resign—could mean for higher education writ large.

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1 Response

Jane Johnson
Jane Johnson

December 08, 2023

The comments from various representatives of the higher ed industry provide useful insights to their reactions. Some sound defensive of the three university presidents whose responses to congressional questioning are less than satisfying, but it is surely too early to predict where this episode will take us. No one really knows for sure where the dividing line is between free speech and hate speech. So right now it looks as if there may be backlash to the recent clamoring for free speech and more teeth-gnashing over hate speech. Where the middle ground may ultimately fall is anyone’s guess at this time. The 1st Amendment is a vital part of our Constitution, and it’s being severely tested at this point in our history.

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