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Columbia president testifies in Congress


Photo illustration by Justin Morrison/Inside Higher Ed | Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images | Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images | MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images | Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress

For the second time in five months, House Republicans will hold a hearing today to highlight what they see as a scourge of antisemitism on U.S. college campuses.

This time, the spotlight shifts to Columbia University. Its president, Minouche Shafik, will testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee starting at 10:15 a.m., alongside two members of the university’s board and a professor who leads the institution’s antisemitism task force.

The proceedings are sure to garner intense public interest, coming on the heels of a December hearing that led to the resignations of the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.

Today’s hearing falls near the end of a stormy academic year for colleges across the country, which have seen an increase in antisemitic speech, threats and assaults against Jewish students since the start of Israel-Hamas war, along with demonstrations in support of the Palestinian people. Republicans in Congress have been highly critical of the way universities have responded. 

Many Jewish students have reported that they don’t feel safe to walk to class or welcome on campus. Arab and Muslim students have also reported a rise in Islamophobia.

Inside Higher Ed will have live updates and analysis throughout the day, starting at 9 a.m., so check back in and livestream with our analysts. In the meantime, read our advance coverage of the hearing looking, in which we gauged the expectations for Columbia’s president and reported on how the last hearing led to greater scrutiny of universities’ internal workings.

As we watch along with you, we’ll be paying close attention to how Shafik responds to what will likely be adversarial questions from Republicans on the panel, while monitoring whether lawmakers like New York representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican, can build on their political wins from the December hearing, which included several viral “gotcha” moments. And we’ll be tracking reactions from experts, and on social media, to see what the repercussions might be, this time around, not just for a president, but for U.S. higher education.

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