Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



House Committee on Education and the Workforce opens antisemitism investigation into NU

Daily file photo by Joss Broward
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce informed NU that it is under investigation in a Friday letter.

Northwestern is under investigation by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce regarding its response to antisemitism on campus, according to a document obtained by The Daily.

In a Friday letter addressed to University President Michael Schill and Board of Trustees Chair Peter Barris, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., who chairs the committee, requested that the University supply the committee with seven sets of documents related to its response to the recent pro-Palestinian encampment on Deering Meadow by May 17.

The documents include communications between University officials about the encampment and alleged incidents of antisemitism on campus, Board of Trustees meeting minutes, video and audio recordings of the encampment, and documents related to NU’s campus in Qatar.

Schill is set to testify before the committee on May 23 alongside Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway, who served as NU’s provost from 2017-2020, and University of California, Los Angeles Chancellor Gene Block.

Since reaching an agreement with student demonstrators to deescalate the encampment on April 29, Schill has come under fire from organizations including StandWithUs and the Anti-Defamation League Midwest, who are calling for his resignation.

“The unlawful pro-terror encampment, dubbed the ‘Northwestern Liberated Zone,’ disrupted campus life and became a hotspot for pervasive antisemitic harassment and hostility,” Foxx wrote in the letter. “Rather than enforcing University rules and disciplining those who violated them, Northwestern’s leaders surrendered to the violators in a shameful agreement.”

The letter points to Schill’s decision not to consult the President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate on the agreement and the subsequent collapse of the committee after seven members stepped down

It refers to the encampment on Deering Meadow as “the site of numerous crimes and antisemitic incidents,” citing several incidents in which Jewish students say they were intimidated or harassed by demonstrators, a video of a protester wearing a hoodie with an image of Hamas spokesperson Abu Obeida and two signs previously placed on the fence between Deering Meadow and Sheridan Road.

“The record makes clear that President Schill and other Northwestern leaders have not only failed to address the pervasive antisemitic harassment and disruptions of a safe learning environment that have plagued the University in a serious manner, but have also surrendered to the malefactors responsible for this hatred and chaos,” the Friday letter reads. “This is an unacceptable dereliction of duty.”

Schill addressed the imagery in an April 30 video message to the NU community, stating that the signs — one of which depicted a Star of David with a red slash drawn though it and another showing himself with devil horns, an antisemitic trope that harkens back to the medieval-era “blood libel” accusations against Jewish people — should be “condemned by all of us.”

In a Thursday op-ed published in the Chicago Tribune and shared with the campus community in a Friday morning school-wide email, Schill again defended his decision to reach an agreement with pro-Palestine protesters.

“This resolution — fragile though it might be — was possible because we chose to see our students not as a mob but as young people who were in the process of learning,” Schill wrote in the op-ed. “It was possible because we tried respectful dialogue rather than force. And it was possible because we sought to follow a set of principles, many of which I would argue are core to the tenets of Judaism.”

In the agreement, NU committed to re-establishing an Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility this fall. The University also agreed to answer questions from any “internal stakeholder,” which includes current students, faculty, staff and trustees, about its financial holdings

But in a May 3 interview on CNN, Schill said he “would never recommend divestment” to the Board of Trustees.

Email: [email protected]

X: @jacob_wendler

Related Stories: 

University President Michael Schill to testify before Congress

President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate to cease work

ADL, StandWithUs, Brandeis Center call for NU President Michael Schill’s resignation

More to Discover