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House Committee to Interview Former Harvard Antisemitism Advisory Group Member

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will interview Dara Horn '99, a former member of the antisemitism advisory group assembled by Claudine Gay.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will interview Dara Horn '99, a former member of the antisemitism advisory group assembled by Claudine Gay. By Julian J. Giordano
By Cam E. Kettles, Crimson Staff Writer

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will interview former Harvard antisemitism advisory group member Dara Horn ’99 on Monday as it considers further legal action against the University.

The move, announced by the committee on Wednesday, comes one week after Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) accused Harvard of “malfeasance,” saying the University “absolutely failed to comply in good faith” with subpoenas demanding documents for the committee’s investigation into antisemitism on campus.

The committee’s March 18 interview with Horn, a novelist and former visiting lecturer of Jewish Studies at Harvard, will be held privately in the U.S. Capitol. It will center on Horn’s time on the short-lived antisemitism advisory group established under former University President Claudine Gay.

Foxx said in a statement Wednesday that the interview “will provide important insight into Harvard’s response to pervasive antisemitism on its campus.”

“The Committee will continue to use all its tools to examine the epidemic of antisemitism at Harvard and other universities and hold these institutions accountable for their failure to protect Jewish students,” she added.

A committee spokesperson told The Crimson on Wednesday that there are no new updates on a committee response to the University’s latest submission.

Controversy surrounding Gay’s antisemitism advisory group — and its successor under interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 — has fueled the committee’s investigation since it began on Dec. 7.

After Gay’s disastrous congressional testimony on Dec. 5, Rabbi David J. Wolpe resigned as a member of the advisory group, writing that “the painfully inadequate testimony reinforced the idea that I cannot make the sort of difference I had hoped.”

One month later, Gay resigned. Garber, who took over as interim president, created his own set of twin presidential task forces to address campus antisemitism and Islamophobia. While neither group has issued public recommendations, one of the antisemitism task force co-chairs — Harvard Business School professor Raffaella Sadun — resigned in February over concerns that the University would not implement the group’s suggestions.

The group’s other c0-chair — History professor Derek J. Penslar — resisted earlier calls to resign after he faced controversy for past statements describing antisemitism at Harvard as “exaggerated.”

Following Garber’s announcement of the dual task forces, a University spokesperson told The Crimson that Gay’s advisory group had “wrapped up its work” and submitted recommendations to Garber.

Harvard voluntarily submitted a list of recommendations from Gay’s advisory group to the committee on Feb. 2, but neither the University nor the committee has released the list publically.

A Harvard spokesperson wrote in a Wednesday statement that “at a critical time during the fall semester, the group of advisors contributed thoughtful perspectives and recommendations which helped establish the groundwork for ongoing efforts to combat antisemitism.”

“Our community and our leaders will continue to take actions to combat antisemitism and to protect and support our Jewish students, alumni, staff and faculty,” they wrote.

Horn wrote in a Feb. 15 article in the Atlantic that she had joined the committee “against my better judgment.”

Horn did not share details from the group’s meetings, citing “respect for Gay’s request that our committee’s discussions with administrators remain private.”

Still, she revealed that Gay did not ask the committee for advice before her congressional testimony, the preparation for which was led by Harvard’s lawyers and William F. Lee ’72, a former senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.

Since leaving the advisory group, Horn has emerged as a vocal critic of the University’s efforts to combat antisemitism. She is also a member of a group of Jewish alumni auditing Harvard’s courses for antisemitism, the Boston Globe reported Feb. 24.

According to the Globe, Horn told the group that “there are entire Harvard courses and programs and events that are premised on antisemitic lies.” Horn cited the spring 2024 course Global Health and Population 264: “The Settler Colonial Determinants of Health” as an example of one such class in her article for the Atlantic.

Horn did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Wednesday.

—Staff writer Cam E. Kettles can be reached at cam.kettles@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @cam_kettles or on Threads @camkettles.

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