Calling for a genocide against Jews is permissible at Harvard University, so long as such speech is not “targeted at an individual” and does not cross “into conduct,” according to Harvard President Claudine Gay.
Gay delivered her jaw-dropping pronouncement under oath on Capitol Hill Wednesday before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. She did so in answer to questions from Rep. Elise Stefanik about the rise of antisemitic demonstrations on American university campuses.
“Dr. Gay, at Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment, yes or no?” Stefanik inquired.
“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded.
A stunned Stefanik had to repeat the question before Gay provided a more detailed answer. Even then, however, the head of Harvard stopped short of condemning calls for genocide.
“Antisemitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct and we do take action,” she tepidly replied.
In case there was any uncertainty about Gay’s stance on calls for genocide against Jews, her interrogation directly followed that of MIT President Sally Kornbluth and UPenn President Liz Magill, both of whom likewise equivocated on the topic when pressed by Stefanik.
“Depending on the context,” “if pervasive and severe,” and “if the speech becomes conduct” were among the many caveats offered by Magill and Kornbluth regarding whether or not calls for genocide against Jews went against their universities’ respective codes of conduct.
Gay and Magill have since sought to clarify their remarks, but their efforts appear to be too little, too late. The testimony of the trio of college presidents has sparked widespread condemnation, including calls for all three of them to resign. These calls have been successful on at least one front as Magill has now resigned.
The day after the hearing, Rep. Stefanik announced a formal investigation into all three universities by the Education Committee.
As reported by City Journal:
In this year’s FIRE report, Harvard’s speech climate didn’t merely rank dead last among those of the 248 participating colleges. It was also the first school that FIRE has given an “Abysmal” rating for its speech climate, scoring it zero on the 100-point scale (even that was a generous upgrade, as its actual composite score was -10). That dismal distinction made headlines last month across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia—but not on the Harvard campus. The Crimson didn’t even publish an article in its news section, much less an editorial; Gay didn’t make a statement, either.
Harvard’s laundry list of censorship scandals is far too lengthy to recite in full, but consider just a selection.
In 2017, before wokery was even fashionable, Harvard revoked admissions for at least 10 incoming students who had posted memes advocating sexual assault and mocked the death of children.
In 2019, President Gay led efforts to successfully oust Harvard Law professor Ronald Sullivan from his administrative post for serving on the defense team of since-convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein.
In 2021, Carole Hooven, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, told Fox News that there are only two sexes. The interview caused such a firestorm among college leadership that she had to take a leave of absence.
In 2020, Harvard instructor David Kane was removed from his teaching post for inviting a libertarian social scientist whose views on race and gender offended students to speak in class.
In 2022, Harvard told undergraduate students during mandatory Title IX training that they could be subjected to disciplinary proceedings if they engaged in so-called “sizeism,” “fatphobia,” “cisheterosexism,” or “ableism.”
Now, after waging an all-out war on dissent, Harvard has turned on a dime, deciding that its commitment to free speech is so great that students are free to call for the extermination of the Jewish people so long as the context is appropriate—and so long as no genocide actually takes place.
In summarizing these bewildering events, Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon put the pause on satire to offer this sobering assessment: “The point isn’t that universities aren’t censoring enough. The point is that they ordinarily censor far too much but suddenly became free speech absolutists when Jews were the target.”
Unless Claudine Gay resigns pronto, or the culture at Harvard undergoes some major renovations, it is a college that will forever be known as the place you can chant for the genocide of Jews—but never dare to use the wrong pronouns.