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The United States House Committee on Education and the Workforce will host a bipartisan roundtable on Feb. 29 with Jewish students at Penn and eight other universities to hear about their experiences with antisemitism on college campuses. Credit: Ethan Young

Jewish students at Penn will discuss their experiences with antisemitism on campus at a roundtable next week hosted by the United States House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The discussion about antisemitism on college campuses will take place on Feb. 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington. The Penn students will accompany students from eight other universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Columbia University. Wharton and Engineering junior Noah Rubin will be attending the roundtable, according to a Feb. 28 press release.

Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said in the press release that the roundtable will “help inform the Committee’s next steps in the antisemitism investigation as it continues to hold postsecondary education accountable for rampant antisemitism.”

“These students are dealing with antisemitism at their respective universities on a daily basis," Foxx wrote. "Their courage to speak out and share their stories will give the American people a new look at what is truly happening on college campuses around the country."

A series of controversies surrounding antisemitism at Penn began in response to the Palestine Writes Literature Festival held in September 2023. The festival sparked fear and outrage among Penn students, alumni, and community members of national Jewish groups. These feelings were compounded after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, after which some donors began calling for former Penn President Liz Magill's resignation.

The Committee on Education and the Workforce first launched an investigation into Penn on Dec. 7, 2023. The investigation was announced in response to Magill's testimony at a Dec. 5, 2023 congressional hearing addressing antisemitism on college campuses.  

At the hearing, Magill received national backlash for saying it was “context dependent” in a response to Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-N.Y.) question asking whether calling for the genocide of Jewish people violated Penn’s Student Code of Conduct. Magill and former Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok resigned on Dec. 9, 2023 in the wake of the backlash. 

A Feb. 7 letter from the Committee on Education and the Workforce, which called for Penn to submit documents on its response to antisemitism on campus, cited multiple examples as “cases of Penn canceling or sanctioning speech it disfavored.” The examples listed included 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 the current Indian Prime Minister. 

Several other probes have been launched to investigate Penn’s response to antisemitism. 

On Nov. 16, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education started an investigation into Penn and six other schools over reported instances of both antisemitism and Islamophobia, the first of such probes to be launched after the start of the Israel-Hamas war. The investigation has since been dismissed due to the existence of a lawsuit containing the same allegation.

In addition, on Jan. 10, the House Committee on Ways and Means called Penn’s tax-exempt status into question, citing the University’s “failure” to support Jewish students on campus and condemn Hamas following the start of the Israel-Hamas war.