Harvard interim president vows to address ‘pernicious’ anti-Semitism on campus

Harvard’s interim president, who sparked outrage after naming a fierce critic of Israel to co-chair a task force to combat anti-Jewish sentiment in the camps, vows to address “pernicious” anti-Semitism at the troubled Ivy League school.

In his first interview since taking over from ousted school leader Claudine Gay, Alan Garber told the Harvard Crimson that he is also concerned about reports of “social rejection” of Jewish students on campus amid the war between Israel and Hamas. .

That will be one of the goals of a new special task force that has “an ambitious set of goals,” he said.

Garber’s concerns about anti-Semitism on campus emerged during her first media interview since replacing Gay, who was ousted last month in a scandal that began with outrage over her disastrous congressional testimony about anti-Semitic threats. to the students.

He said that what worries him most is self-censorship in the face of attacks against Israel.

“What I have found most disturbing of all are the situations or experiences that students describe where they felt like they couldn’t speak in class because there are attacks against Israel or perhaps against Israelis,” Garber said.

Harvard interim president Alan Garber has pledged to address “pernicious” anti-Semitism and “social rejection” at the Ivy League university.

“They feel without support to contradict them,” he added.

Garber also said he was concerned about reports of “social rejection” of Jewish students on campus amid the war between Israel and Hamas, adding that the newly formed task force would address that.

He did not answer questions about whether the Ivy League school would consider implementing a speech code for classrooms, but said in a later statement that he is not in favor of such a move.

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“I have heard complaints that in some classes only certain points of view on controversial topics are presented and considered welcome,” he said. “The students who have spoken to me do not believe that the solution is a speech code or any other means of suppressing speech. Me neither.

Pro-Palestinian protesters attend a recent demonstration at Harvard. AFP via Getty Images

“Rather, they want the opposite: a classroom environment in which alternative perspectives are taken seriously. Enabling that type of environment is work I am committed to promoting,” Garber added.

He told the Crimson that he “is strongly in favor of free speech,” but stressed that “there has to be a discussion about what the limits are.”

“Can anti-Semitic attacks take the form of attacks against Israel? The answer is yes, that is possible,” she stated.

The school is under investigation by the House Education and Workforce Committee for its response to anti-Semitism.

Harvard has been a hotbed of anti-Semitism amid the war between Israel and Hamas. AP

The investigation was launched immediately after Gay’s testimony before Congress, but House Republicans vowed to continue the investigation even after she resigned on Jan. 2 over allegations of plagiarism and the controversy over anti-Semitism on campus.

Gay came under fire in December after she was asked at a congressional hearing whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated Harvard rules.

He said “it depends on the context” and then apologized.

Garber told the outlet that the university “will fully comply with the process” of the investigation.

Former Harvard president Claudine Gay was ousted last month. David McGlynn

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History professor Derek Penslar, his choice to co-lead the anti-Semitism task force, has faced intense criticism, including from former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, for previous comments suggesting that reports of anti-Semitism at the school were exaggerated.

Garber did not directly respond to whether he agreed with Penslar’s earlier comments.

“I think Derek would agree with me that we have a very serious problem,” he told the Crimson. “One of the most important goals of the task force is to come up with interventions that effectively address the problem we face today.”

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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