Stefanik slams Harvard for 'cultural rot,' allowing suspect in antisemitic attack to graduate

FIRST ON FOX – House GOP Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., penned a scathing letter to the leaders of Harvard University, alleging that by slow-walking its investigation into the assault of a Jewish student on campus in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, the Ivy League school will effectively allow one of the perpetrators to graduate “despite having committed a well-documented antisemitic hate crime.” 

The letter, addressed to Dr. Alan Garber, interim president of Harvard University, and Penny Pritzker, senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, referenced how on Oct. 18, 2023, Harvard’s Palestine Solidarity Committee staged a “die-in” at Harvard Business School where students protested Israel’s efforts to defend itself following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, displaying a sign stating, “From the river to the sea.” 

“During this event, an Israeli Harvard Business School student recorded the act and was quickly surrounded by a mob of anti-Israel protesters, who assaulted and harassed him,” Stefanik wrote. “These assailants blocked his path, repeatedly grabbed him, and shouted ‘Shame! Shame! Shame!’ at him. This assault is well documented and was denounced by many alumni who were rightly outraged by the actions of these protesters and called for accountability.” 

Stefanik cited documents obtained by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce showing that Harvard engaged the law firm of Jenner & Block to conduct an independent investigation of the Oct. 18 incident. Jenner & Block met with the victims’ attorneys at the law firm Holtzman Vogel in early January 2024 and received relevant video evidence of the incident, Stefanik said. 


Harvard anti-Israel protest

Anti-Israel protesters seen at Harvard University at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Oct. 14, 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

“Further information shows that local prosecutors are currently in the process of negotiating court dates with two of the Harvard students who assaulted the victim. On March 25, Holtzman Vogel learned that the ‘Clerk’s Hearing’ in the criminal case has been postponed to May 7,” Stefanik wrote. “One of the assailants in the incident, a Harvard Divinity School graduate student, is scheduled to graduate in May 2024. Due to this postponement, the assailant will gain the lifelong distinction of being an alumnus of Harvard despite having committed a well-documented antisemitic hate crime against a fellow student.”  

“Justice for this incident should have been served quickly, and the delay of justice that specifically allows an antisemitic student to graduate is an affront to accountability and demonstrates the cultural rot of Harvard University’s leadership that has allowed antisemitism to continue,” Stefanik wrote. 

Stefanik noted that when now-former Harvard President Claudine Gay failed to say that calls for genocide against Jews violated school regulations while testifying before Congress in December, she also claimed “disciplinary processes are underway” against those who committed antisemitic acts.

“This has proven to be false, with Harvard producing no evidence of punishment against those who have committed crimes and violated Harvard’s code of conduct.”

Stefanik grills Harvard president at congressional hearing

Rep. Elise Stefanik during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 5, 2023. (Haiyun Jiang/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


“This same lack of accountability applies to a faculty member who recently threatened a Jewish student yet is still employed by the university,” the House GOP chair added. “This recent case of Harvard protecting those who hate Jews is disgusting. As an alumna of Harvard University, allowing this student to gain the title of Harvard graduate disgraces all who have come before him and erodes the distinction of a once sought after degree. At a time when support and applications for Harvard have fallen, university leadership has continuously chosen to side with those who hate Jewish students and faculty and failed to keep them safe.” 

In a separate March 22 letter to Jenner & Block, Holtzman Vogel demanded to know why “the internal University process appears to have stalled entirely” and the outside investigation initiated by Jenner & Block “has not progressed,” despite the incident having happened five months prior. Fox News Digital obtained a redacted version of the letter blocking out the names of the students involved. 

Harvard students die-in for Palestine

An anti-Israel protest involving students and their supporters on the lawn of the Harvard Business School on Oct. 18, 2023. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“Indeed, you first contacted our offices over two months ago seeking additional information, and when we discussed this matter, you indicated that the University wanted to address it promptly. The time to act is now as one of the students rapidly approaches the potential of being awarded a degree at Harvard,” the letter says, charging that Harvard University “has not taken a single disciplinary action against any of the students involved in the wrongful treatment” of their client, with the exception of one student at the Harvard Divinity School (HDS), who reportedly lost his proctor privileges at Harvard College. 

The firm goes on to say the Jewish student seen being assaulted “on video by multiple cameras at several different angles” further reported the incident to the school but continues to face online harassment. 


“Meanwhile, defamatory posts authored in the wake of the incident and directly targeting [alleged victim] remain online as of today and are easily accessible to you at this precise moment,” the letter says. “In fact, Harvard PSC [Palestine Solidarity Committee] continues to maintain our client’s photograph on its official X feed, which has been retweeted more than 21,000 times and ‘liked’ by more than 45,000, which certainly implies approval of Harvard University. In addition, at least two postings by a current business school student on HBS affinity chats remain posted, though they refer to our client as ‘a Zionist aggressor’ and include his photograph.” 

Fox News Digital reached out to Harvard for comment, but they did not immediately respond.

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