Federal judge dismisses lawsuit regarding UPenn's compliance with House anti-Semitism investigation

A federal judge recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by the ‘Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine,’ which attempted to prevent the University of Pennsylvania from complying with an ongoing U.S. House investigation.

A federal judge in Pennsylvania recently dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine, which attempted to prevent the University of Pennsylvania administration from complying with an ongoing U.S. House of Representatives committee investigation into the school regarding its efforts to combat anti-Semitism.

“An association of faculty and students of the University of Pennsylvania (‘Penn’), calling themselves Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine, as well as two named Penn professors Huda Fakhreddine and Troutt Powell, have sued Penn to stop it from complying with a request for documents from a committee of the United States House of Representatives,” explained Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell Goldberg in an opinion released on June 24.

However, Goldberg decided that “Plaintiffs lack standing to bring this lawsuit, and I will therefore dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint and deny their motion for a preliminary injunction.”

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“I conclude Plaintiffs lack standing to bring this challenge,” he continued. “They have not alleged what information Penn will disclose or how it will harm them.”

The professors’ original lawsuit alleged that reports of anti-Semitism were being used to suppress speech similar to how accusations of communism were used in the aftermath of World War II.

“This nation is seeing the advent of a new form of McCarthyism, in which accusations of anti-Semitism are substituted for the insinuations of Communist leanings which were the tool of oppression in the 1950’s,” the lawsuit stated.

The professors’ lawsuit even drew a comparison between the current work of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which has conducted investigations into alleged rampant anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the “McCarthyism” of the former House Un-American Activities Committee.

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“On December 5, 2023, the Presidents of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and MIT were called before the Committee and asked questions which were intentionally phrased to place them in a false light as to their actions to combat anti-Semitism,” the professors contended in their suit, saying that the questioning the university heads were subjected to was conducted in “bad faith.”

The Penn Faculty for Justice in Palestine is just one of many such faculty groups in universities. These groups mirror the anti-Israel “Students for Justice in Palestine” chapters and have accused Israel of “genocide” and “apartheid.”

Campus Reform has contacted the University of Pennsylvania for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.