Len Gutkin on the Congressional hearing on campus antisemitism!

Sally Kornbluth of the MIT, Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania  and Claudine Gay of Harvard University, NBC News

Dear Commons Community,

Len Gutman, senior editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education, will publish an opinion  piece on Monday commenting on the recent Congressional hearing on campus antisemitism.  It is balanced and well-done.  Here is a preview.

“Tuesday’s congressional hearing on campus antisemitism, in which Republican lawmakers interrogated Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, MIT’s president, Sally Kornbluth, and the University of Pennsylvania’s president, Elizabeth Magill, represented the appearance on the national stage of the political interference state legislatures have been bringing to bear on colleges for the last several years. As is typical of congressional hearings, there was a lot histrionic grandstanding from the politicians and a lot of noncommittal circumlocution from those testifying.

Two plain truths emerged: First, many politicians misunderstand academic freedom, or pretend to do so, and if left unchallenged, might prove perfectly capable of McCarthyite interventions more repressive than anything seen in half a century or more. Second, elite-college leaders are unequipped to address the perception, held by much of the public and by many within their own institutions, that they tolerate an egregious double standard when it comes to academic freedom, one that punishes conservatives and consecrates the left. Each side sees the other as hypocritical; each side is to some extent correct about that.”

His conclusion:

“Bob Good, a Republican from Virginia commented at the hearing:  ‘Your institution is clearly producing students who are sympathetic to a terrorist organization. Don’t you think that’s a misuse of taxpayer dollars?’ There will always be politicians attracted to this sort of threat, and universities have weathered similar attacks before. They have done so in part because they have been able to persuade enough of the public that they are honest brokers, both of research and of critical disputation. They will need to learn to do so again.”

The entire piece is worth a read!


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