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Northwestern President Michael Schill to testify before Congress in antisemitism hearing

Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO — Northwestern University President Michael Schill is scheduled to testify Thursday morning at a congressional hearing titled “Calling for Accountability: Stopping Antisemitic College Choas,” as the elite Big Ten school and others across the country face mounting accusations of fostering climates that are hostile or discriminatory to Jews.

Schill — who describes himself as a “proud Jew” raised with an enduring love for Israel — is slated to appear before lawmakers alongside the leaders of Rutgers University and the University of California at Los Angeles.

A similar congressional hearing on antisemitism on college campuses in December spurred the resignations of several leaders of Ivy League schools, amid fierce backlash to their testimonies.

The Anti-Defamation League Midwest recently called for Schill’s resignation or removal by the university board of trustees, arguing in a statement that Jewish students at Northwestern “have been harassed and intimated by blatant antisemitism on campus,” which has worsened since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel killed roughly 1,200 and plunged the Middle East into an ongoing war.

Northwestern officials said in a statement Tuesday that the school’s “foremost responsibility is ensuring the safety of our students.”

“We are confident in the actions we have taken to address antisemitism on our campus,” the statement said, adding that “President Schill looks forward to discussing them with the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.”

 

The Republican chairwoman of that committee, however, has already expressed a hard-line stance when it comes to university officials, campus protesters and allegations of antisemitism.

“The Committee has a clear message for mealy-mouthed, spineless college leaders: Congress will not tolerate your dereliction of your duty to your Jewish students,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina in a statement. “No stone must go unturned while buildings are being defaced, campus greens are being captured, or graduations are being ruined. College is not a park for playacting juveniles or a battleground for radical activists. Everyone affiliated with these universities will receive a healthy dose of reality: actions have consequences.”

The hearing comes as colleges around the nation are rocked by a movement of pro-Palestinian demonstrations and protest encampments, including one established at Northwestern last month.

Protesters erected tents on Deering Meadow, a popular green space on the Evanston campus, to protest the Israel-Hamas war and demand the university divest itself of financial assets linked to Israel.

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