Republican congresswoman threatens Harvard with subpoena over anti-Semitism documents, weighs expansion of investigation

​Rep. Virginia Foxx is threatening Harvard with a subpoena after it allegedly failed to hand over all of the documents requested in an investigation into anti-Semitism on campus.

Rep. Dr. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) threatened to subpoena Harvard University after the Ivy League Institution allegedly failed to hand over requested documents in a congressional committee’s investigation into anti-Semitism on campus.

Foxx, who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee, initially requested documents related to Harvard’s response to anti-Semitism, with a deadline of Jan. 23, as Campus Reform previously reported.

Foxx told CNN in a phone interview that Harvard didn’t hand over all of the requested documents.

“We thought Harvard would take this more seriously,” Foxx said. “We need the remaining documents we requested — and we need them in a timely fashion. We are hoping they will move forward with giving us the documents, without us having to issue a subpoena.”

[RELATED: House committee requests documents from Harvard on anti-Semitism response, gives two week deadline]

“We don’t want to use it. We prefer to work with people, but we will if we need to,” Foxx added.

Nick Barley, Deputy Communications Director for the House Education and the Workforce Committee, confirmed to Campus Reform that Foxx is considering issuing Harvard a subpoena.

Barley also confirmed that Foxx is considering expanding the anti-Semitism investigation to include additional universities. It is already investigating  Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania.

“We are going to do an examination of any universities that fail to address antisemitism. We are quite well aware of Cornell and Columbia,” Foxx told CNN.

A spokesperson for the House committee told CNN that the 24 documents, totaling over 1,000 pages, are all publicly available. The requested information from the committee included several items that aren’t available to the public, such as documentation of “All reports of antisemitic acts or incidents.”

After the Cambridge, Massachusetts, institution provided the documents to the committee, Foxx issued a statement, calling it “woefully inadequate.”

“Upon initial review, Harvard’s production to the Committee in response to its antisemitism investigation is woefully inadequate. Rather than answering the Committee’s request in a substantive manner, Harvard has chosen to provide letters from nonprofits and student handbooks, many of which are already publicly available. This is unacceptable. Harvard must produce the remaining documents in a timely manner, or risk compulsory measures,” Foxx said.

[RELATED: Congress launches investigation into Harvard’s handling of Gay’s plagiarism problem]

A spokesperson for Harvard told CNN it is “committed to cooperating” with inquiries from the committee.

“We denounce any form of antisemitism in the strongest possible terms and are committed to the safety and wellbeing of our students,”  the spokesperson said. “We intend to continue to engage with the Committee in a dialogue to respond to their ongoing requests.”

A spokesperson for Columbia University told CNN, “We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the Chairwoman and her colleagues toward our shared goal of combating antisemitism and other forms of hate.”

Initially, Foxx asked Harvard to provide the following information by Jan. 23: 

  • ”All reports of antisemitic acts or incidents and related documents and communications since January 1, 2021, as well as all documents and communications related to specified incidents, including the harassment and assault of a Jewish MBA student on October 18, 2023;
  • All documents and communications since January 1, 2021, referring and relating to antisemitism, involving the Harvard Corporation and Harvard Board of Overseers (including all fellows and members), as well as minutes of Harvard Corporation and Board of Overseers meetings;
  • Documents sufficient to show the findings and results of any disciplinary processes, changes in academic status, or personnel actions by Harvard towards Harvard students, employees, and other Harvard affiliates related to conduct involving the targeting of Jews, Israelis, Israel, Zionists, or Zionism since January 1, 2021; and
  • Documents sufficient to show any efforts by Harvard students, faculty, and staff to engage in the BDS movement against Israel since January 1, 2021, and communications by Harvard administrators relating to such efforts.”