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Chairman Smith: Elite Universities Failing to Protect Jewish Students Calls into Question Their Tax-Exempt Status

January 10, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) must provide Congress with additional information regarding their failure to condemn Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel and subsequent failure to protect Jewish students on their campuses, demanded Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith in a letter today to the schools’ presidents:

“If antisemitic speech crosses the line into unprotected conduct, it must be punished severely,” wrote Chairman Smith. “If disgusting antisemitic speech remains in the protected category, it should be condemned, not coddled. Your words and actions matter. Condemning barbaric terrorism against Israel and disgusting antisemitism should not be difficult. Protecting Jewish students on campus as you protect other students, should not be a challenge. This is not that hard.”

Smith’s letter underlines the importance of protecting free speech, while also stressing that once speech on campus crosses into unprotected calls for violence, the failure of American universities to act calls into question their tax-exempt status:

“These actions, inconsistencies, and lack of a substantive response raise several questions, including whether your institutions are fulfilling their educational purposes as required to receive 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and whether your institutions are adequately protecting Jewish students from harassment and acts of violence in compliance with antidiscrimination laws. These specific incidents add to ongoing concerns that ‘elite’ American universities are failing to provide instruction beneficial to individuals or the community and are instead instructing students to have disdain for the United States and the very communities they live in. Ultimately, as the U.S. House Committee with primary jurisdiction over tax-exempt institutions and the treatment of their endowments, we are left to wonder whether reexamining the current benefits and tax treatment afforded to your institutions is necessary.”

You can read the full text of the letter HERE.

READ: Seven Key Moments from Ways & Means Hearing on Nexus Between Antisemitism, Tax-Exempt Universities, and Terror Financing

READ: Chairman Smith: Kustoff, Schneider Legislation to Revoke Tax-Exempt Status of Non-Profits Supporting Hamas Crucial to Stopping Financial Flows to Terror Groups READ: Chairman Smith Slams Tax-Exempt Universities and Student Groups’ Support of Hamas