Image 01 Image 03

House Committee Demands U Penn Antisemitism Records, Decries Hypocritical Mistreatment Of Prof. Amy Wax

House Committee Demands U Penn Antisemitism Records, Decries Hypocritical Mistreatment Of Prof. Amy Wax

Compares U. Penn mistreatment of Prof. Amy Wax with what congressional letter calls “clear double standard by tolerating antisemitic vandalism, harassment, and intimidation, but suppressing and penalizing other expression it deemed problematic.”

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has demanded a long list of documents from the University of Pennsylvania, saying it has grave concerns about the school’s response to pervasive antisemitism on its campus.

The disastrous campus antisemitism hearings that forced the resignation of University of Pennsylvania President M. Elizabeth Magill last December were only the beginning of its inquiry. In a letter confronting the school with its shameful record of antisemitic incidents, the Committee just gave UPenn two weeks to produce evidence of what it is doing to make them stop.

Magill’s now infamous answer to that question was, basically, “nothing.” When the Committee asked her whether calling for the genocide of Jews would violate UPenn’s code of conduct, she said it was “a context-dependent decision.”

Her mealymouthed response to this and other inquiries that day just made the Committee doubt UPenn’s commitment to the safety of its Jewish students even more. How can the school be serious about addressing antisemitism if it needs “context” to decide whether death threats against Jews are antisemitic?

Others had the same reaction. The fallout from Magill’s pathetic performance began almost as soon as the hearings ended. Two days later, a major donor withdrew his $100 million dollar gift to the school. Then, minutes after Magill resigned on December 9th, UPenn’s Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok announced his resignation.

But UPenn’s institutional failures to address its antisemitism problem extend well beyond these two former leaders, the Committee says in the letter. Antisemitism is exploding at UPenn because the school sytematically tolerates it in the name of “free speech”—free, that is, as long as Jews are the target:

In defense of this disgraceful record, Penn has cited its supposed commitment to free speech. In former President Magill’s words, Penn claims that it is ‘guided by the United States Constitution,’ which limits it from taking action against antisemitism on its campus.

However, Penn has demonstrated a clear double standard by tolerating antisemitic vandalism, harassment, and intimidation, but suppressing and penalizing other expression it deemed problematic.

UPenn’s free speech claims fall flat when you consider its call to cancel UPenn Law’s Professor Amy Wax, which the letter cites as an example of the school’s hypocrisy.  Legal Insurrection readers will recall how Wax came under fire for unapologetically expressing her conservative views back in 2017. We wrote about the university’s relentless proceedings against her ever since in a series of posts, most recently here.

Wax’s case shows how the school applies one standard to people who express viewpoints it favors and another to people who don’t:

In June 2022, Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger took the extraordinary step of requesting Penn’s Faculty Senate impose a ‘major sanction’ on tenured law professor Amy Wax for ‘intentional and incessant racist, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic actions and statements’ and that ‘Wax’s conduct inflicts harm on [students, faculty, and staff] and the institution and undermines the University’s core values.’ This effort, which is ongoing, is widely perceived to be an effort to strip Wax of her tenure and terminate her.

It’s hard to see how the school can justify shutting down Wax for wrongthink while giving a free pass to the destroy-Israel chants described in the letter:

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” “Zionism is racism,” “Penn funds Palestinian genocide,” and “From West Philly to Palestine, occupation is a crime.”

And while the accusations against Wax are based on students’ alleged hurt feelings—she makes them almost want to cry!—at UPenn, Jewish students are actually intimidated by anti-Israel protestors marching across campus calling for their death and vandalizing buildings with antisemitic graffiti saying “intifada” and “avenge Gaza.”

Congress is now demanding to see tangible evidence of how the school is protecting its Jewish students from these threats. Its letter asks for 25 categories of reports, records, and meeting minutes, including documents that show “any Penn disciplinary, academic, personnel, administrative, or other processes” for responding to incidents and reports of antisemitism.

These include:

  • The Palestine Writes Literature Festival;
  • The activities of Penn Students Against the Occupation since October 7, 2023;
  • Posts by Penn students, faculty, staff, and other Penn affiliates on Sidechat andother social media platforms targeting Jews, Israelis, Israel, Zionists, or Zionism;
  • Anti-Israel protests at Penn, and any disruptions to education and student life related to them, since October 7, 2023, including but not limited to the October 16, 2023, protest, Palestine Freedom School, and December 3, 2023, protest;
  • The antisemitic vandalization of the Stuart Weitzman School of Design on or about September 14, 2023;
  • The vandalization and arrest at Penn Hillel on or about September 21, 2023;
  • The vandalization of a property next to the Alpha Epsilon Pi House on or about October 20, 2023;
  • The antisemitic emails received by multiple Penn staff members on or about November 6, 2023;
  • The projection of anti-Israel phrases onto university buildings on or about November 8, 2023;
  • The destruction or unauthorized removal of posters featuring Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas; and
  • The posting of “Missing Cow” posters similar in appearance and design to posters featuring Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas.

The university has until February 7th to respond.

UPenn isn’t the only school facing ongoing scrutiny. A similar letter was recently sent to Harvard, as we wrote here. As far as the Committee is concerned, the responses at the December hearings from the presidents of Harvard, UPenn, and MIT to the rampant antisemitism displayed on their campuses were “absolutely unacceptable,” and the formal investigation into all three continues.

Meanwhile, in the two weeks to come, UPenn will have to own up to having one set of rules for anti-Zionists and another one for Professor Amy Wax.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Magill’s now infamous answer to that question was, basically, “nothing.” When the Committee asked her whether calling for the genocide of Jews would violate UPenn’s code of conduct, she said it was “a context-dependent decision.”

And the irony is that the problem is not this response, which is exactly what it should be for a university that claims to act as if it were bound by the first amendment, but the fact that it never acted that way before. If it had treated Prof Wax properly then its president would have been on solid grounds saying that it will treat the nazis the same way. The problem arises when nazis are allowed to march in Skokie and nobody else is. When the university has a long history of saying “Oh, the first amendment? That doesn’t apply to us”, then it can’t suddenly have a Come to Madison moment* just when it’s most convenient, surely to be forgotten the next time someone says something that offends the left.

* Road to Philadelphia conversion?

    henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | January 26, 2024 at 12:40 pm

    Put perfectly.

    Rebelresistance in reply to Milhouse. | January 26, 2024 at 10:40 pm

    But could the Skokie nazi’s march on campus, assuming they have something to say about Jewish persons, because of Title 6. They can march on main street, 1st amendment, but not in the university campus due to Title 6.

      Title 6 does not override the first amendment. On a government university’s campus the first amendment rules.

        Rebelresistance in reply to Milhouse. | January 27, 2024 at 9:31 pm

        Not sure if I’m missing something here, but short of threats and intimidation, just discriminatory harassment of the Jewish students at the Ivies would override 1st amendment. Federal funding involved, despite being private schools and not gov’t universities.

        hrhdhd in reply to Milhouse. | January 30, 2024 at 11:12 am

        UPenn is private.

That’s an amazing document. I’m under no illusion that it will change people or their opinions, We can only hope it forces some changes.

    Brian in reply to Brian. | January 25, 2024 at 11:04 pm

    As reads: “. . .hope it forces some changes.”

    Should read: “. . . hope it forces some major policy changes and changes in behavior.”

    Sorry about that

It’s not hypocrisy if the double standard is intentional. Then it’s just lying.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | January 26, 2024 at 4:38 am

Of course, Amy Wax is rational and willing to engage in discussion. Her points are mostly – obviously – correct, but she is happy to entertain objections, which is what really ticks off the leftists.

Leftists, on the other hand, tend to be depraved lunatics who like to espouse the most idiotic, asinine theories and refuse to defend their ideas in any logical manner (since almost all of them have no logical defense). They live in a sea of cognitive dissonance and bleak emptiness and are enraged by the presence of anyone who isn’t as miserable and depressed and angry as they are.

The government is the last thing you want involved.

    MoeHowardwasright in reply to rhhardin. | January 26, 2024 at 6:20 am

    The government gives money in the form of grants for research, science and other projects. It gives Congress the right to oversight. If this is what it takes to root out anti-semitism as well as leftist bias, then use the tools the laws gave us. FJB

      It’s anti-white, with Jews just stand-ins. Mischaracterization is the first thing the government will do.

      October 7 was antisemitism. The rest is the usual anti-white narrative. Smart whites oppress dumb browns.

    Another Voice in reply to rhhardin. | January 26, 2024 at 3:48 pm

    Harvard, MIT, Cornell, U of Penn, never gave it a consideration to be held accountable to the Federal Government. The historical and current Trustees and Presidents believed that privilege was bought along time ago. What would be a perfect outcome is to have Congress go back to Brown vs. Bd. Of Ed. and have them monitored on their appointments, policy and have the Federal Funding audited to see that they are playing by all the rules. Perhaps they could bring a few people from the U. of Chicago to help glean their book of policy procedures if in doubt.
    Oh, and let the heads begin to (metaphorically) roll.

E Howard Hunt | January 26, 2024 at 6:35 am

Amy is a hero for pointing out that for years she has had to deal with black law students who are without exception clearly mentally inferior to whites. Imagine trying to censor that and punish the truth teller.

Lucifer Morningstar | January 26, 2024 at 7:38 am

The university has until February 7th to respond.

Or what exactly happens if by February 7th (or after) if the UPenn administration fails to respond. What exactly will happen. Will UPenn be sanctioned? Will they lose their access to federal education funding? Will UPenn no longer be able to accept federal education student loans? Or is this just more dog and pony show nonsense that will quickly be forgotten when UPenn gives the House Committee on Education and the Workforce the middle finger salute and tells them to eff off or worse yet simply ignores the demand for information.

Until something actually happens, which i doubt it will, I’m highly skeptical that anything will come of this. UPenn will ignore the demand letter. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce won’t attempt to force the issue. And like usual nothing will come of this at all. But it does make for good media exposure and propaganda.

    Obviously, you know the answer to the question you’ve asked. Nothing will happen. But, even if by some legislative miracle the House could manage to get something through the the Senate and then override Biden’s certain veto, Biden (or the people who actually run the government) would simply ignore it and continue to give money to the favored colleges and universities, like Penn.

    We have entered the monarchy phase of our late-stage Republic; Democrat Executives, unburdened by the oversight of the Fourth Estate and/or the possibility of actual Impeachment AND removal simply do what they want. They set their own immigration laws, start any wars they’re moved to start and SPEND whatever money they wish to spend without any leave of Congress or the Courts…just ask the millions of deadbeat students who continue to see their debt retired by Joe Biden even though the Supreme Court said he couldn’t do it.

    It should result in a decrease in applications. It should result in graduates having more difficulty obtaining employment.

At this point, it appears that if the Ivies, and whackademia in general did not have double standards—they would have no standards at all.

Texas public universities had the DEI driven out of them by the legislature and the Governor. I honestly believe the public universities just relabeled their DEI efforts and repackaged that manure into something else spelt out in the usual whackademic word salad.

BierceAmbrose | January 28, 2024 at 1:03 am

There’s nothing hypocritical about any of this.

There is only the agenda. Some people are on the team; everyone else is not. Any policy, principal, or procedure is just instrumental — used to advance the agenda when it helps, discarded when it does not.