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Harvard president apologizes for testimony about anti-Semitism

Harvard University President Claudine Gay has issued an apology following widespread criticism of her recent testimony to Congress. Gay, along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, was criticized for failing to explicitly state that calls for the genocide of Jews constituted campus bullying and harassment. The apologies came after a House committee hearing focused on anti-Semitism on campuses, where the three presidents were accused of not doing enough to ensure the safety of Jewish students.

Universities have come under scrutiny for their perceived inaction against anti-Semitism, particularly following the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel. University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill has faced calls for her resignation, with major donors expressing a loss of confidence in her leadership. Harvard is also among 14 universities under investigation by the Department of Education for discrimination related to shared ancestry since the October attacks.

During the hearing, the university presidents did not explicitly state that calling for the genocide of the Jews violates their code of conduct on bullying or harassment, explaining that it would depend on the circumstances and the conduct. Gay regretted his comments, acknowledging that his words had caused distress and pain. He stated that calls for violence against the Jewish community have no place at Harvard and will never go unchallenged.

Hedge fund billionaire and Harvard graduate Bill Ackman has been a vocal critic of universities' handling of anti-Semitism on campus and has called for presidents to resign. However, most of the criticism has been directed at Magill, who is facing a rebellion from donors and threats to withdraw a $100 million gift.

Magill has also clarified his statements, saying he should have been more forceful in his condemnation of hate speech, particularly calls for genocide. However, unlike Gay, she has not issued an apology for her testimony.

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