The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

The United States Capitol on Mar. 29, 2023. Credit: Jesse Zhang

The United States House Committee on Education and the Workforce requested a plethora of documents from Penn on Wednesday, citing “grave concerns” about the University’s response to antisemitism on campus. 

Committee Chair Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sent a letter to Interim Penn President Larry Jameson and University Board of Trustees Chair Ramanan Raghavendran detailing “deeply troubling” actions on campus in regards to antisemitism and free speech. She requested that the University submit documents and information by Feb. 7 as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation. 

Fox wrote that "mere warnings are insufficient," adding that students feel "threatened by the explosion of antisemetic incidents on campus." 

"We have received the request from the House Committee on Education & the Workforce and will respond after we complete a review of the request,” a University spokesperson told The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Foxx claimed that Penn had an “environment of pervasive antisemitism,” referencing not only campus events since the Palestine Writes Literature Festival in September 2023, but also the decline of Penn’s Jewish undergraduate population since 2013 and the Penn Middle East Center’s affiliation with the Middle East Studies Association — which supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. 

“Penn has demonstrated a clear double standard by tolerating antisemitic vandalism, harassment, and intimidation, but suppressing and penalizing other expression it deemed problematic,” Foxx wrote. 

The letter cited multiple examples as “cases of Penn canceling or sanctioning speech it disfavored,” including action taken against University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School professor Amy Wax in 2022 and a canceled invitation from the Wharton India Economic Forum to Narendra Modi in 2013, who is now the Indian Prime Minister. 

The committee requested 25 groups of documents and information relating to multiple topics, including antisemitism or anti-Zionism on campus, pro-Palestine groups and actions at Penn, foreign donations to the University, and data on Jewish enrollment since 2003. These include communications by the Board of Trustees and other Penn affiliates, including Sidechat and social media posts and text messages. 

The committee’s investigation was first opened on Dec. 7 after a congressional hearing on antisemitism with former Penn President Liz Magill, former Harvard University President Claudine Gay, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth. The committee said it would use the “full force of subpoena power” to hold the University accountable.  Two days later, Magill and former Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok resigned

The Department of Education has since dismissed an antisemitism investigation originally launched Nov. 16, 2023, citing the existence of a lawsuit containing the same allegations. The House Committee on Ways and Means also launched its own probe into the University’s tax-exempt status on Jan. 10. 

Staff reporter Ethan Crawford contributed reporting.