Tim Tai, Senior Photographer

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce conducted a closed-door transcribed interview with University President Peter Salovey about antisemitism on Yale’s campus.

In the transcribed interview, which was closed to the press and conducted by general counsels and committee staff members, Salovey faced alternating rounds of questions from both Republicans and Democrats, with each round lasting an hour. While the interview transcripts are sometimes disclosed publicly, the committee has not said whether it will release the transcript or issue a statement on Salovey’s hearing.

The interview began at 10:30 a.m. in Washington and stretched for several hours into the afternoon. Salovey was accompanied by a team of advisors from FGS Global, a communications consultancy that represents Yale. One FGS employee said they were stationed outside the door in case a protest broke out, which none did.

Salovey was originally called to testify at a televised antisemitism hearing that took place in May. Soon after, the committee replaced him with the presidents of Rutgers University and Northwestern University, where administrators had reached agreements with pro-Palestine student protesters, and Salovey was rescheduled for a transcribed, closed-door interview.

Salovey’s interview comes on the heels of months of pro-Palestine protests and several encampments on Yale’s campus that resulted in 53 arrests. Constant fears of both antisemitism and Islamophobia continued throughout the semester.

When asked by the News about the main message Salovey communicated to Congress in the interview, the University spokesperson responded, “Yale strives to strike a balance between supporting free speech — where dissenting views are protected — and maintaining a safe environment for learning.”

In the May statement announcing that the committee had summoned Salovey and University of Michigan president Santa Ono for transcribed interviews, Chairwoman Rep. Virginia Foxx wrote that “the Committee has identified patterns of antisemitism on Yale’s and Michigan’s campuses and a general failure by these universities to protect Jewish students that must be addressed.”

The University spokesperson wrote that Salovey saw the interview as a discussion of the safety of  “everyone at Yale – and, particularly, as stated in the committee’s invitation, the members of Yale’s Jewish community,” but otherwise did not provide specifics about Yale’s approach to antisemitism in particular.

In December, after the committee held its first hearing on antisemitism with college presidents, the News posed the same questions asked in the hearing to Salovey. At the time, Salovey spoke more forcefully to condemn antisemitism than the other presidents.

“In my opinion, if an individual stood on our campus and urged the committing of mass murder of Jews, it would have no intellectual or academic value, and is frankly hateful and worthless,” Salovey wrote. “The very idea of it is something I find outrageous, vile, and abhorrent. Such an act, in my view, would be harassing, intimidating, and discriminatory, so I would certainly expect that person to be held accountable under our policies prohibiting such conduct.”

The University’s statement after Thursday’s transcribed interview reiterated Yale’s policies for academic discipline “when incidents of harassment, discrimination, or intimidation are brought forward,” but did not provide further detail and declined to comment on which specific events on Yale’s campus Salovey was asked about.

Thursday’s interview was part of a broader push on the part of House Republicans like Foxx and Rep. Elise Stefanik to scrutinize antisemitism at universities in the wake of widespread pro-Palestine campus protests, but the official investigation into 10 other schools has not yet been extended to Yale. 

The Congress-wide investigation sprung from three prior hearings with university presidents that triggered major controversies. Uproar after the first hearing led to the resignations of both Claudine Gay of Harvard University and Liz Magill ’88 of the University of Pennsylvania, and the second hearing sparked Columbia University student protests that began a nationwide campus encampment trend. By contrast, the transcribed interview with Salovey on Thursday avoided the publicity that has led to controversy.

Salovey will step down from Yale’s presidency on June 30. 

Josie Reich covers Admissions, Financial Aid & Alumni for the News. Originally from Washington, DC, she is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in American Studies.