505 law professors sign letter condemning US House committee investigation into Rutgers University News
Mx. Granger, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
505 law professors sign letter condemning US House committee investigation into Rutgers University

A group of 505 law professors and faculty have signed a letter that was delivered to the US House Committee on Wednesday, condemning the investigation into Rutgers University Newark Center for Security, Race, and Rights (CSRR) for campus antisemitism.

The congressional investigation of Rutgers University began on March 27 by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx. The letter said the probe threatens “core American commitments to free speech and academic freedom.”

In the letter, the professors wrote that the committee’s investigation into Rutgers CSRR is “a politically motivated and viewpoint-based attack on the Center and a tenured university professor.”

The CSRR is the only US law school-based center that researches how the law affects South Asians, Muslims, and Arabs to educate and advocate on civil and human rights matters. The CSRR hosts various lectures throughout the year but notes “that of the nearly 90 lectures the Center has hosted since its founding, the Committee identifies as ‘antisemitic’ only those in which a speaker is of Palestinian ancestry or expresses pro-Palenstinian viewpoints.”

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war last year, Foxx has launched several investigations into Universities across the country. “Rutgers stands out for the intensity and pervasiveness of antisemitism on its campuses,” Foxx said in a letter. “Rutgers senior administrators, faculty, staff, academic departments, and centers, and student organizations have contributed to the development of a pervasive climate of antisemitism.”

The professors repeatedly called for the committee to end its investigation and urged Congress to condemn the actions of the Committee. “Beyond threatening a bedrock constitutional value of American liberty, the Committee’s conduct compromises a separate pillar of our democratic republic: academic freedom,” the letter added.

Several other Universities have been investigated following high-profile antisemitism allegations, including Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. Such investigations have led to the resignation of two university presidents.