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MIT board announces support for university president after backlash to House testimony

MIT’s governing board released a statement Thursday standing behind President Sally Kornbluth amid backlash to her testimony at a House hearing on campus antisemitism Tuesday.

Kornbluth was asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) if a call for genocide against Jewish people would constitute harassment on MIT’s campus.

Kornbluth said it would have to be targeted at individuals and pervasive, as well as require an investigation.

Her answer, along with similar answers from the presidents of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, sparked bipartisan outrage and calls for all of them to resign. The House has also launched an investigation into all three schools regarding the learning environment on campus and disciplinary policies.

“The MIT Corporation chose Sally to be our president for her excellent academic leadership, her judgment, her integrity, her moral compass, and her ability to unite our community around MIT’s core values,” the Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation said in their statement after the investigation was announced.

“She has done excellent work in leading our community, including in addressing antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate, all of which we reject utterly at MIT. She has our full and unreserved support,” it added.

Some free speech advocates have said the answers of the presidents at the hearing were correct according to the Constitution but say that defense isn’t working due to arguable history regarding the universities’ actions towards students and speakers with unpopular opinions.

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