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Harvard President Alan Garber ’76 Says He Is Willing to Testify Before Congress

Alan M. Garber '76 currently serves as Harvard's interim president. Garber said if he were asked to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, he would agree.
Alan M. Garber '76 currently serves as Harvard's interim president. Garber said if he were asked to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, he would agree. By Marina Qu
By Emma H. Haidar and Cam E. Kettles, Crimson Staff Writers

Interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 has so far escaped an invitation to testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, but if asked, he would say yes.

“If I am called to testify before Congress, I intend to do so,” Garber said in an interview with The Crimson on Monday.

The committee has refrained from calling Garber to Washington even as they subpoenaed him in February to demand internal documents and communications as part of its ongoing investigation into campus antisemitism.

The investigation into the University seems to have slowed down in recent weeks as the committee’s focus has turned to Columbia University, but Harvard might not be off the hook just yet.

After Harvard responded with additional materials in response to the subpoena, the committee said its submissions to date amounted to “malfeasance” and said the committee would consider further action against the University.

Almost two months later, the committee has not released any additional information on where the investigation stands, but Garber said Harvard is still in “periodic” contact with the committee.

“We’ve been cooperating with committee in good faith responding to their requests for information,” Garber said.

“As far as I know, they are continuing their process and we are continuing to cooperate,” he added.

A committee spokesperson declined to comment on the state of the investigation.

As of early March, Harvard has submitted nearly 4,900 pages of material to the committee in 11 submissions, but Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has repeatedly accused Harvard of obstructing the investigation by declining to submit disciplinary records and unredacted meeting minutes from the University’s governing boards.

Garber declined to say if the University had submitted the requested material, but insisted the University had responded to the requests “in good faith.”

While the committee appears to have put a pin in its investigation into Harvard, it has stayed busy launching investigations into how antisemitism has been handled at other universities including MIT and Columbia.

Columbia University President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik testified before the committee on April 17 as campus protests began to pick up steam.

Garber said he had not watched Shafik’s testimony before the committee because he was “in meetings all day.”

“I’ve seen bits of this in the press coverage, but I actually do not know exactly what she said so I don’t feel like I’m in a position to comment on that,” Garber said.

While Shafik managed to avoid any viral missteps during her hearing, she is still facing serious calls to resign over her handling of pro-Palestine protests on Columbia’s campus.

Some faculty and students at Columbia criticized Shafik over her decision to have student protesters arrested by the New York City Police Department, while House Republicans slammed Shafik for not taking further action to quell the demonstrations.

Garber has avoided being the center of controversy during the first 100 days of his presidency, but it is not clear how long he will remain successful in his efforts to limit campus protests.

The University suspended the Harvard Undergraduate Palestinian Solidarity Committee Monday for previously collaborating with unrecognized student groups. The University also closed Harvard Yard to non-affiliates Sunday evening, as student activists across the country organized protests in solidarity with Columbia.

Garber declined to comment on widespread concerns that the committee had been engaging in bad faith attacks on higher education.

“I believe that concern about antisemitism is widespread,” Garber said. “Most of the people who I have heard from — including members of Congress that I’ve spoken with — really do care about antisemitism and expect us to do something about it, certainly on our campus.”

“We’re committed to doing so,” he added.

—Staff writer Emma H. Haidar can be reached at emma.haidar@thecrimson.com. Follow her on X @HaidarEmma.

—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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