Tim Scott proposal targets Harvard’s federal funding as students rally against Israel again

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A Republican presidential candidate is threatening to block Harvard from receiving federal funding as the school is seen as a “hotbed of antisemitism,” while pro-Palestinian student groups continue to rally on campus.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, of North Carolina, has introduced legislation that looks to prevent federal student aid from being funneled to Harvard and other colleges and universities that “facilitate events that promote violent antisemitism.”

“From Harvard to Columbia, Americans have watched our institutions of higher learning turn into hotbeds of antisemitism,” Scott posted on X, the former Twitter platform, Thursday morning. “I’m fighting to cut federal funding to any university that enables, excuses or provides cover for blatant and outrageous antisemitism.”

The proposed legislation, dubbed “The Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act,” would specifically block schools from being eligible for Title IV funds, which includes federal student aid.

It came to light hours before hundreds of Harvard students walked out of class Thursday afternoon to “stand in solidarity with Palestinians facing genocide.”

The rally, continuing a string of pro-Palestine demonstrations on campus, marched through the university’s science building, student center and Harvard Law School, with nonparticipants observing from the sidelines, some shaking their heads and turning away.

Student groups, the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee and Harvard Graduate Students 4 Palestine, organized the march. Both co-signed a scathing letter blaming Israel for the Hamas terror attack Oct. 7.

The fallout from that message, and the response by Harvard’s President Claudine Gay that critics are saying was weak, continues to reverberate on the Cambridge campus, making it more divided than in recent memory.

Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada and the European Union, and it still holds 200-plus hostages.

A Jewish student who declined to provide his name to the Herald said he’s felt safe on campus, adding he knows that’s not necessarily the case for his classmates.

“I think rallies like this are absolutely insane following a murderous attack on civilians,” the student said. “I know there is a strong Jewish population on Harvard’s campus, and we all feel very strongly that this is very sad to see, that our colleagues believe what they believe.”

A release from Scott’s office highlighting “The Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act” blasts the responses from more than a handful of colleges and universities, including Harvard, Georgetown, and Columbia, among others, in the wake of the Israeli-Hamas war.

“According to the Anti-Defamation League,” the release states, “violent language and threats against the Jewish community and Israel increased 488% in the first 18 hours after Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians.”

It continues, “Some examples include: Harvard University’s silence regarding over thirty Harvard student organizations releasing a statement blaming Israel for the Hamas terrorist attacks carried out against Israeli civilians.”

Dozens of Harvard professors, in an open letter to Gay on Tuesday, criticized her for not including “Palestine” in her communications with university affiliates, according to campus newspaper The Harvard Crimson.

“Indeed, the failure to even mention the words “Palestine” or “Palestinians” — except in one passing reference to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—or to condemn the killing of Palestinian civilians, is to willfully ignore the fact that it is Palestinian and allied students who are being targeted on our campus,” part of the letter states.

Before Thursday’s rally, officials closed the gates to Harvard Yard, with students and academics being required to show security their university IDs to gain entrance. That meant prospective students on tours couldn’t gain access to the center of campus.

“I think everyone should be able to make their voices heard, and protest and rally,” said Emilio, a Cambridge native  who declined to provide his last name. “It is telling that they closed it off to people who don’t have a student ID.”

Protesters march through Harvard University chanting “Free, Free Palestine”. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)
The gates to Harvard Yard were closed as protesters march through Harvard University chanting “Free, Free Palestine”. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)
Protesters march through Harvard University chanting “Free, Free Palestine”. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)
The gates to Harvard yard were closed as protesters march through Harvard University chanting “Free,Free Palestine”. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

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