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

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Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award
District 65 School Board votes to close Dr. Bessie Rhodes School
Kathryn Hahn declares class of 2024 “worthy of celebration” in commencement address
Pro-Palestinian graduates walk out of 2024 Commencement Ceremony in solidarity with Gaza
‘Wildcats should have wild dreams:’ Nikki Okrah delivers optimistic 2024 Weinberg Convocation address
The Daily Explains: Contextualizing the Evanston reparations lawsuit
NU announces plans to prevent disruptions at commencement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

May 30, 2024

Lacrosse: No. 1 Northwestern falls 14-13 to No. 2 Boston College in national championship battle

May 26, 2024

Campus Kitchens fills plates and hearts

Why Club Sports at Northwestern?

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

What to Watch For: University President Michael Schill gears up for congressional testimony

Daily file photo by Jacob Wendler
University President Michael Schill will testify before Congress Thursday.

More than 700 miles east of Northwestern’s Evanston campus, University President Michael Schill will report to Capitol Hill on Thursday to testify at a hearing before Congress. The proceedings are slated to begin at 9:15 a.m. CDT in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce called Schill and the leaders of Rutgers University and the University of California, Los Angeles to appear for a hearing titled “Calling for Accountability: Stopping Antisemitic College Chaos.”

The committee’s chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., wrote in a May 6 news release that Schill, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway “have surrendered to antisemitic radicals in despicable displays of cowardice.” 

After Schill’s administration reached an agreement with organizers of the pro-Palestinian encampment on Deering Meadow on April 29, the president received criticism from various Jewish organizations.

The Anti-Defamation League Midwest, StandWithUs and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law called for Schill’s resignation for what they called an “inadequate” response to antisemitism on campus.

Conservative news watchdog Accuracy in Media also dispatched a mobile billboard to his residence, Wieboldt House, on May 7. The billboard labeled Schill “Hamas’s favorite university president” and called for his resignation.

With Schill set to testify Thursday morning on Independence Avenue, here are three topics and storylines that may arise.

Foxx, colleagues to outline alleged pattern of ‘persistent’ antisemitism 

In a May 10 letter addressed to Schill and Board of Trustees Chair Peter Barris, Foxx said the agreement with encampment organizers was not an isolated incident, but rather a component of an alleged ongoing pattern of antisemitism on campus.

“I have grave concerns regarding Northwestern’s persistent failure in addressing antisemitism,” Foxx wrote in the letter.

Foxx claimed the administration opted to “capitulate to antisemitic, pro-terror encampment organizers” rather than enforce University rules. She called the agreement “shameful,” referring to NU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine’s celebrating the agreement as a “landmark victory.”

Schill will inevitably face several questions regarding the April 29 agreement, but the scope of the committee’s questioning will likely extend to his first quarter as president in November 2022. Alleged antisemitic incidents cited by the committee predate Schill’s tenure at NU.

The House committee requested all documents and communications referring or relating to alleged antisemitic incidents at NU since October 7, 2023.

Expect Foxx and her colleagues to attempt to link a November 2022 op-ed published in The Daily arguing the use of the phrase “From the River to the Sea” was hateful — and its response — to late April’s encampment.

Focus on President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate

Large sections of Foxx’s letter referenced the President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate. The House committee requested all documents referring and relating to Schill’s now-defunct committee prior to the hearing.

The committee ceased its work May 2 after seven members resigned following Schill’s decision not to consult the committee before reaching the agreement with encampment organizers.

Originally announced in November, the committee began its work in January with 16 members, encompassing students, faculty, trustees and administrators. In their cessation letter to Schill and Barris, some members wrote “the committee as currently constituted cannot continue to function.”

Schill will likely face questions regarding the committee’s functions, his lack of consultation with members prior to reaching the agreement and its subsequent disbandment.

Medill Prof. Steven Thrasher, other faculty members to be topics of discussion

Medill Prof. Steven Thrasher, the journalism school’s chair of social justice in reporting, documented his experience through various days at the encampment on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

His actions at the encampment, as well as his social media activity, will likely be scrutinized by Foxx and her colleagues. 

In her letter, Foxx called Thrasher “a leader and participant in physically resisting police.” She also alleged that Thrasher and other faculty present violated the Northwestern Faculty Handbook’s provisions on demonstrations.

The handbook states that community members cannot “use or occupy campus facilities so as to impede the carrying forward of such activities or events” and is cited in Foxx’s letter.

Foxx described Thrasher and other faculty members’ formation of a “faculty defense line” as a violation of University policy and state laws.

The House Committee requested all documents and communications since April 24 referring and relating to the Northwestern Liberated Zone and/or the Agreement on Deering Meadow, including all communications and documents involving Thrasher and 15 other faculty members.

Thursday could mark Schill’s first explicit public comment regarding the faculty’s presence at the encampment.

Email: [email protected]

X: @jakeepste1n

Related Stories:

President Schill addresses vandalism on Deering Meadow

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

University President Michael Schill to testify before Congress

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