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Tags: mit | sally kornbluth | antisemitism | college

MIT Stands By President Kornbluth Amid Calls to Resign

By    |   Friday, 08 December 2023 05:10 PM EST

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's governing body expressed staunch support for school President Sally Kornbluth Thursday after her testimony on antisemitism on Capitol Hill earlier this week.

Controversy erupted following her ambiguous answers two days earlier when questioned by congressional lawmakers over antisemitic hate speech and Jewish genocide.

"The MIT Corporation chose Sally to be our president for her outstanding academic leadership, her judgment, her integrity, her moral compass, and her ability to unite our community around MIT's core values," the school said in a statement.

"She has done excellent work in leading our community, including in addressing antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate, which we reject utterly at MIT," the statement continued. "She has our full and unreserved support."

Kornbluth, Harvard University President Claudine Gay and University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill sparked outrage with their testimonies and are all facing calls to resign for failing to address rising antisemitism at their institutions amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Asked on Tuesday by Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., if calling for genocide constituted bullying or harassment, Kornbluth responded, "If targeted at individuals, not making public statements."

She added that she has "not heard calling for the genocide for Jews on our campus," but conceded that she was aware of protest chants that "can be antisemitic, depending on the context when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people."

During her testimony, Gay answered it would "depend on the context," when asked if calls for genocide on campus violated Harvard's rules.

"Antisemitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation — that is actionable conduct," she said. "We do take action."

For her part, Magill said, "If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment, yes."

The UPenn president posted a video statement on Wednesday in an attempt to explain her congressional testimony, saying she was not "focused" on the issue but wanted to "be clear" that calls for genocide were "evil, plain and simple."

"In that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies — aligned with the U.S. Constitution — which say that speech alone is not punishable," Magill said in the video.

The university presidents' vague responses incited widespread uproar, with Stone Ridge Asset Management founder and CEO Ross Stevens threatening to withdraw his $100 million gift to UPenn unless Magill resigned.

On Thursday, second gentleman Doug Emhoff denounced rising antisemitism amid Israel's ongoing war against Palestinian militant group Hamas and called out the "presidents of some of our most elite universities."

Speaking at the White House menorah lighting to mark the first night of Hanukkah, Emhoff criticized Kornbluth, Gay and Magill, saying they "were unable to denounce calling for the genocide of Jews as antisemitic."

"The lack of moral clarity is unacceptable," he said.

Also on Thursday, the board of UPenn's Wharton School of Business called on Magill to resign, writing in a letter addressed to her that university leadership "does not share the values of our Board."

First obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian, the letter expresses concern about a "dangerous and toxic culture" at the university that board members say leadership has allowed.

"As a result of the University leadership's stated beliefs and collective failure to act, our Board respectfully suggests to you and the Board of Trustees that the University requires new leadership with immediate effect," they wrote.

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is backing school President Sally Kornbluth after her testimony on antisemitism on Capitol Hill earlier this week.
mit, sally kornbluth, antisemitism, college
Friday, 08 December 2023 05:10 PM
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