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Stefanik slams Columbia University 'arrogance,' 'inconsistent testimony': 'reckoning of accountability'

House GOP chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., torched Columbia University President Dr. Nemat "Minouche" Shafik's "glaringly inconsistent testimony" and "arrogance."

House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., gave a blistering review Wednesday of the testimonies of Columbia University leadership who appeared before the House Education and the Workforce Committee's hearing to discuss antisemitism soaring at the prestigious New York campus. 

After the hearing, Stefanik issued a statement regarding Columbia University President Dr. Nemat "Minouche" Shafik's response to a line of questioning from Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., about whether there have been any explicitly "anti-Jewish" protests on campus. 

"Today's hearing of Columbia University president and board members epitomizes the failed leadership on ‘elite’ college campuses to combat antisemitism and protect Jewish students," Stefanik said in a statement. "From the university president's moral equivocation on antisemitism, to glaringly inconsistent testimony regarding disciplinary action and lack thereof taken against antisemitic students and pro-terrorist faculty, to astonishingly stating that there has been no ‘anti-Jewish’ protests on campus only to then acknowledge that ‘F-- the Jews’ & ‘Death to the Jews’ is in-fact anti-Jewish when she was further pressed." 


Arguing there have simply been what she categorizes as "anti-war" or "pro-war" protests at the university, Omar asked Shafik if she's seen any "protest saying we are against Jewish," to which the Columbia president responded "I have not." But Stefanik rejected the assertion, later on at the hearing noting how "the slurs and the chants have been ‘f the Jews. Death to Jews. F Israel. No place. Death to the Zionist state. Jews out.’ You don't think those are anti-Jewish?" 

Shafik agreed, "Completely anti-Jewish, Completely," to which Stefanik said, "So you changed your testimony on that issue as well. So there have been anti-Jewish protests." 

At the hearing, Stefanik and other House Republicans also questioned why a tenured Columbia professor, Joseph Massad, who praised "the innovative Palestinian Resistance" and Hamas militants for attacking Israel and glorifying Hamas's slaughter of nearly 1,200 Jews, describing the terror attack on southern Israel as "awesome," "astonishing," "astounding," and "incredible," remained as the chair of the School of Arts and Sciences Academic Review Committee. Shafik at first testified she believed Massad was no longer chair of the committee, but Stefanik later pointed out he was still listed as holding the position on the university's website. Shafik later clarified that Massad is under investigation for the antisemitic remarks.


In her post-hearing statement, Stefanik said that during a break, "the witnesses were overheard discussing how well they thought their testimony was going for Columbia." 

"This arrogance is eerily reminiscent to the previous three university presidents who believed walking out of the hearing that their testimony was acceptable," Stefanik said. "Columbia is in for a reckoning of accountability. If it takes a member of Congress to force a university president to fire a pro-terrorist, antisemitic faculty chair, then Columbia University leadership is failing Jewish students and its academic mission. No amount of overlawyered, overprepped, and over-consulted testimony is going to cover up for failure to act."

Notably, the House GOP chair grilled the presidents of Harvard, UPenn and MIT in December on whether calls for the genocide of Jews violated university policy against bullying and harassment or their codes of conduct. Each school leader said more context would be needed, failing to give a definitive response. 

Months later, after those testimonies prompted widespread outcry and the resignations of two of the three presidents, Shafik and other Columbia witnesses testified definitively, "yes," to the same question.

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