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Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Dec. 5 at 3:37 p.m.:

The hearing concluded at around 3:30 p.m. following closing remarks from Foxx.

Dec. 5 at 3:35 p.m.:

Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.) asked how speakers are invited and approved to come to campus. Magill says that the approval process is decentralized.

Magill added that Penn does not censor speakers even if they are "offensive," but that administration might condemn their message.

Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m.:

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) repeatedly asked Magill if calling for genocide of Jews violates Penn’s policies or code of conduct.

“If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment,” Magill said and repeated. “It is a context-dependent decision."

“Calling for genocide of Jews … is a context-dependent decision?” Stefanik said. “This is an easy question to answer 'yes,' Ms. Magill …. Conduct meaning committing the act of genocide? This is unacceptable, Ms. Magill.”

“Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s code of conduct when it comes to bullying and harassment?" was Stefanik's final question for Magill.

“It can be harassment," Magill responded.

Dec. 5 at 3:25 p.m.:

Rep. Brandon Williams (R-N.Y.), a 1998 Wharton MBA graduate, asked Magill how long she has worked at Penn, the size of the faculty and staff, and the size of Penn's endowment. Williams asks if Penn has enough funds to address antisemitism.

"I am shamed to be an alumni of your university," Williams said, adding that he is "not alone."

Dec. 5 at 3:17 p.m.:

Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Mo.) asked the college presidents what steps they have taken to remove "hateful" pro-Palestinian groups from campus, an example of which he said was the group Students for Justice in Palestine. 

Magill said any organized student group must comply with Penn rules, and if they violate those rules, they can lose University recognition. Penn Against the Occupation is a student group on campus that has organized multiple pro-Palestinian demonstrations over the past few months.

Dec. 5 at 3:12 p.m.:

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) asked Magill about gifts from Qatar. Magill responded that the University "accepts no gifts inconsistent with its academic mission," adding that she believes Penn receives about $2,000 a year from private Qatari donors.

Dec. 5 at 3:07 p.m.:

The hearing resumed shortly before 3 p.m.

Rep. Lori Chavez-Deremer (R-Ore.) alleged that Penn only has three classes on Jewish history for undergraduates and should provide course opportunities commensurate to those for minority groups. Penn hosts a Jewish studies program offering a number of classes on the history of Judaism.

"You can examine as many task forces as you want … but I can assure you that for students, especially Jewish students, those options come across as lazy and disingenuous. In your testimonies I've heard no self reflection or acknowledgment of failure," Chavez-Deremer alleged.

Dec. 5 at 1:56 p.m.:

Rep. John James (R-Mich.) asks the presidents to remind the audience members what they are doing to address antisemitism on campus. Magill appears to reach for her microphone to respond, but James responds that no one responded, so he considered it a no. The presidents did not respond to a follow-up question.

“I do not think you have any satisfactory answers for me,” James says.

The hearing is now on recess as of 1:52 p.m. The DP will resume coverage afterwards.

Dec. 5 at 1:49 p.m.:

Rep. Aaron Bean (R-Fla.) said that students who spoke at the House Republicans press conference contradicted the message of the presidents regarding an adequate response to antisemitism.

Bean asks the presidents if any of them have expelled students or banned student groups in response to antisemitic incidents — to which none of the presidents responded.

Dec. 5 at 1:29 p.m.:

All presidents — including Magill — said that they condemn sexual violence against women after Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.) asked.

Letlow said that Jewish women on the college campuses must feel unsafe, adding that condemning antisemitism is not enough.

Dec. 5 at 1:23 p.m.:

Rep. Kathy Manning (D-S.C.) said "the fear Jewish students are facing is real and justified." Manning later said she wants to ask Magill if Jewish students felt safe after the Palestine Writes festival.

Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) asked if it is appropriate for women at Penn to change in the locker room with “biological men.”

“We follow the rules of competition, and if a student complies with the NCAA rules, they can compete at Penn,” Magill responds.

Miller asked why Biden was paid almost $1 million by Penn. Magill noted Biden was a professor of practice for over two years and received a salary of $400,000, adding that former Gov. Jeb Bush held the same title.

“Biden had a wide variety of obligations” including seminars and interacting with students, she said.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) criticized Republican attempts to cut funding to the U.S. Department of Education and Office of Civil Rights, whose work he said is “critical to fighting antisemitism,” and investments in education at the K-12 and higher education levels.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said that she receved a letter from the Wharton Club of Israel about how it was organizing a briefing on the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. She asks Magill if there will be a briefing scheduled before the end of the year.

Magill says that she did not deny the “brutal and barbaric nature” of the Hamas attack and needs to check her schedule.

Dec. 5 at 1:07 p.m.:

Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) asksed Magill about antisemitic vandalism and threats to Jewish students, adding questions to the record.

"People deserve answers — not rhetoric — action items," McClain said before yielding her time to Stefanik. 

Dec. 5 at 12:56 p.m.:

Students with progressive Jewish student group Penn Chavurah held a rally and press conference in Washington, D.C. along with other progressive and pro-Palestinian Jewish college groups.

“We call on our presidents to shut down Congress’ efforts to denounce criticism of Israel as inherently antisemitic and reaffirm their commitment to freedom of speech, especially speech regarding Palestine,” a statement from a coalition of these groups released yesterday said.

Dec. 5 at 12:52 p.m.:

Magill told Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) Penn follows all regulations about foreign donations and doesn't accept gifts that would compromise its mission or create conflicts of interest, citing a vetting process and declining gifts that don't align with Penn's mission.

Steel asked if Magill is aware if any donations to the University from Qatar were conditioned on the inclusion of a pro-Palestinian curriculum or events.  

"We follow all laws and accept nothing that is" unaligned with Penn's mission, Magill said.

Penn has a “very small number of” alumni in Qatar who have given money to Penn, but the University has not received any donations from the Qatari government.

“We look forward to a follow up,” Foxx said.

Dec. 5 at 12:44 p.m.:

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) criticized attempts by "some on Penn's campus" to equate antisemitism and Islamophobia, listing the vandalism of Penn Hillel and the U.S. Department of Education investigation as examples of the severity of antisemitism at Penn relative to Islamophobia.

Good referred to the Sunday pro-Palestinian march through Philadelphia and Penn’s campus and asks if there has been an equivalent march in favor of the “slaughter of Muslims.”

“Any act of hate....” Magill said before Good repeats his question, ultimately adding that she is not aware of any such instances. 

Magill said she abhors all acts of hate when asked if it's "morally dishonest" to equate antisemitism with Islamophobia.

Earlier this afternoon, Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) asked Magill about opportunities for students to learn about the history of antisemitism. Magill says that she is proud of Penn’s Jewish studies program, specifically noting the Katz Center for Judaic Studies.

Dec. 5 at 12:40 p.m.:

Prior to today’s hearing, College senior Eyal Yakoby spoke at a House Republicans press conference about his experiences with antisemitism on Penn’s campus.

“I, along with most of campus, sought refuge in our rooms as classmates and professors chanted proudly for the genocide of Jews,” Yakoby said, referring to Sunday night’s protests.

Dec. 5 at 12:27 p.m.:

Magill and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) entered a tense exchange after Banks asks Magill about the Palestine Writes Literature Festival, referring to controversial speakers including “anti-Jewish” Pink Floyd member Roger Waters and a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement.

"Why in the world would you host someone like that?" Banks asked.

In response, Magill said, "Antisemitism has no place at Penn," prompting Banks to repeats his question.

"Antisemitism has no place at Penn," Magill said. "Our free speech policies are guided by the U.S. Constitution."

"Why did you invite Roger Waters?" Banks asked.

Magill then reiterated her condemnation of some of the Palestine Writes speakers facing allegations of antisemitism, noting the conference had over 100 speakers. Banks also called out Penn for attempting to punish professor Amy Wax while permitting faculty, such as Anne Norton and Ahmad Almallah, to allegedly promote antisemitism and allowing students who chanted “intifada revolution” to speak at Penn.

"Penn regulates speech that it doesn't like.... Why does [Almallah] still have a job at your University?" Banks asked.

Magill said her approach to speech is guided by the U.S. Constitution and disagrees with Banks' characterization that Penn "treats speech differently."

""You're speaking out of both sides of your mouth," Banks said in closing, calling Penn responsible for creating a "hotbed" of antisemitism.

Dec. 5 at 12:03 p.m.:

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) thanked the witnesses for their commitment to diversity. She described her Republican colleagues as being critical of diversity initiatives, and offers Gay more time to respond to Stefanik’s previous questions. Gay said she was satisfied with her response.

Kornbluth expressed optimism with MIT’s opportunities for informal dialogue and the support of faculty. 

“That is what being in university is all about,” Kornbluth said about opportunities to talk to people of different backgrounds and perspectives.

Dec. 5 at 12:01 p.m.:

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said that “intifada” is arguing for the elimination of Jews and asks repeatedly if use of this phrase is permitted by the code of conduct. Gay reiterated to Stefanik — a Harvard alumna — that Harvard is committed to free expression, even given “objective, hateful” views.

Stefanik called for Gay’s resignation and asked if Harvard will take action against use of phrases such as “from the river to the sea,” which she alleges is calling for the “genocide of Jews.” Gay declines to say if action has been taken, but reiterates students’ right to privacy and says that “processes are ongoing.”

Dec. 5 at 11:53 a.m.:

Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) asked the witnesses about antisemitic speech on campus.

“At Penn, our policies are guided by the Constitution,” Magill says, referencing the Open Expression guidelines as policy. Magill says she finds it important to call out antisemitic rhetoric when it occurs on campus.

Dec. 5 at 11:48 a.m.:

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) says his constitutent goes to Penn and is afraid to go to the library, which he calls "unconceivable."  

"Could you tell us why a Jewish student today is scared to walk to the library at night?" Grothman asks.

"I'm devastated to hear that, and the safety and security of our campus is my top concern," Magill says.  

Magill says she would appreciate the opportunity to talk to this constituent.

Dec. 5 at 11:34 a.m.:

Referring to Magill’s prepared testimony which said the cure to antisemitism is knowledge, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) says “the cure to antisemitism is not simply knowledge ... it’s truth.” 

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) offered Harvard President Claudine Gay the opportunity to respond to criticism that Harvard did not respond to the Hamas attack quickly enough.

“In the days after, not only did I condemn that attacks, I continue to condemn the attacks,” Gay says, adding that she is continuing to be in contact with Harvard’s Jewish community.

Responding to a question from Takano, Magill says that she was not an expert on antisemitism, but added that she is willing to learn.

Dec. 5 at 11:28 a.m.:

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) asks if Magill has policies to ensure that students are educated about antisemitism and its history, and Magill says Penn began efforts in September to ensure this is the case across the University.

Thompson also asked if the University plans to offer education to community members who were allegedly arrested for antisemitic harassment

“Anyone who is arrested for an activity that is antisemitic ... should certainly receive education," Thompson said.

“We strongly oppose boycotting, divesting, sanctioning Israel,” Magill said of the University’s position, noting collaborations with professors in Israel.

Dec. 5 at 11:14 a.m.:

In response to questioning from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) about the percentage of conservative professors at the University, Magill said she “strongly believes in a wide variety of perspectives” but Penn does not track that information.

“None, I got the message,” Wilson responds. “... The result is antisemitism.” 

Wilson addressed Magill and asked her if she has taken any action against professors who have used "speech that has endorsed hatred," specifically referencing professors who have allegedly participated in pro-Palestinian rallies.

Dec. 5 at 11:01 a.m.:

“Our community still mourns those brutally murdered during the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on October 7,” Harvard President Claudine Gay said during her opening remarks. “At the same time, I also know members of Harvard’s Muslim and Arab communities are also hurting.”

The Daily Pennsylvanian previously reported that multiple Penn faculty members have received violent threats after their involvement in pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campus.

"We will continue to deploy all resources to support any members of the community receiving hate," Magill said, referencing doxxing and harassment towards Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian students.

The Daily Pennsylvanian previously reported that multiple Penn faculty members have received violent threats after their involvement in pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campus.

Dec. 5 at 10:48 a.m.:

Harvard University President Claudine Gay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth, and Penn President Liz Magill have all arrived at the Congressional hearing, which began at 10:15 a.m.

Two Penn students who have felt “threatened and assaulted” by the current campus environment will be present in the hearing room, according to prepared remarks by Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx.

In a message to the Penn community, Magill addresses today’s hearing, Sunday’s pro-Palestinian march by Goldie, and graffiti reports along Walnut Street. The message includes a copy of Magill’s testimony. 

This hearing takes place just two days after the Philadelphia community witnessed in horror the hateful words and actions of protestors who marched through Center City and near Penn’s campus,” Magill wrote.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, opened the hearing with her prepared remarks before introducing the witnesses. The chairwoman also played a brief video showcasing protests on college campuses.

Dec. 5 at 8:20 a.m.: 

Penn President Liz Magill will testify today about antisemitism on college campuses before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. 

Magill will be joined by Harvard University President Claudine Gay and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth as majority witnesses. The hearing, titled “Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism,” will begin at 10:15 a.m. and comes after weeks of political outcry and public condemnation of Magill and other university presidents’ handling of antisemitism on campuses.

The Committee is chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who has served as the top Republican on the Committee since Jan. 3. House Speaker Mike Johnson will lead a press conference with students from Penn, Harvard, and MIT at 10 a.m. in the Capitol. 

Magill’s testimony comes after a series of antisemitic incidents — including a spray-painted swastika discovered in Meyerson Hall in the Stuart Weitzman School of Design and an unknown individual who overturned furniture and vandalized Penn Hillel while shouting antisemitic rhetoric — on Penn’s campus since the start of the fall semester.

Magill received national attention after the Palestine Writes Literature Festival was held from Sept. 22 to Sept. 24 on Penn's campus. The festival included speakers who allegedly have histories of making antisemitic comments, drawing criticism from campus and national Jewish groups.

Last month, Magill announced an action plan to combat antisemitism, which commits to several steps to improve safety and security, engagement, and education on campus. The plan garnered support and skepticism from Penn community members, with some saying that the plan does not provide enough support to either Jewish or Palestinian communities on campus.