Burgess Owens corners elite university president over eye-popping donations from country hosting Hamas

Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens has cornered Northwestern University President Michael Schill over the eye-watering amount of donations the elite school reportedly received from Qatar amid a fiery altercation during a House hearing of Delegates.

“Do you think it would be a good idea for Northwestern University to cooperate with a government that harbors the terrorist Hamas, and Iranian agents who finance terrorism? Yes or no?' Owens asked Schill, sitting in front of a large billboard holding a check depicting a $600 million donation from Qatar to Northwestern.

“I'm not going to give yes or no answers,” Schill replied.

“You obviously don't have a problem with that,” Owens said. “Northwestern's school of journalism…” Owens continued before being cut off by Schill.

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Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens in hearing with Northwestern President Michael Schill. (The Committee on Education and the Workforce/Youtube)

“I'm actually quite offended that you're telling me what my opinion is,” Schill interjected.

“Did you know that the Northwestern School of Journalism has a formal partnership with Al Jazeera,” Owens pressed the president, who responded that he had only recently been made aware of the partnership.

“I actually only heard about that last week,” he replied.

“Then let me make you aware. Because Al Jazeera, because of their pro-Hamas reporting, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has asked the Prime Minister of Qatar to tone down Al Jazeera's anti-Israel incitement,” he said.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing Thursday titled “Call for Accountability: Stop Anti-Semitic Chaos on Universities,” where lawmakers will meet with Schill, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway on their handling of anti-Semitism at the campus after widespread protests and protests. troublemakers setting up tent camps and demanding the divestment of schools from Israel.

College presidents and chancellors face a hearing in Congress

Northwestern President Michael Schill, Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway and UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. (University of Oregon/Rutgers/Getty)

This year the school is being put under extra scrutiny following a report showing Qatara nation that hosts Hamas terrorist leaders has donated about $690 million to the university since 2007.

“Now, Mr. Schill, how much money has Northwestern University received from Qatari sources, including Qatari affiliates at the Qatar Foundation?” Owens asked.

Schill said he didn't have the exact amount, pointing to the check on the billboard sitting behind Owens in the meeting: “You have a check that says that amount.” Schill said the money will be used to maintain Northwestern's satellite campus in Qatar.

The House Education and Workforce Committee previously requested information from the school about its ties to Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatari government, after students and alumni wrote a letter saying the partnership may have violated the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 violated. Washington Free Beacon previously reported. The law outlines that Americans cannot provide “training, expert advice or assistance” to terrorist organizations.

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Northwestern became the first school in the country earlier this month to publicly announce that university leaders had struck a deal with campus agitators, allowing students to review school investments tied to Israel and fund Palestinian-related scholarships and faculty salaries in exchange for protesters who largely dismantled their education. encampment.

“I'm trying to understand how you conduct negotiations … and by the way, President Schill, would you have the same patience, the same strategy, if these were white supremacists from the KKK who were trying to negotiate and who were actually attacking and intimidating black people? I'll just have the same patience for that.”

Schill said he wouldn't answer a hypothetical question.

Owens added in a commentary to Fox News Digital Thursday that there has been a “clear moral failure” on college campuses following Hamas's attack on Israel in October.

Protest van with critical message about Northwestern

Protest display outside a law office in Washington, DC, where Northwestern President Schill prepares for a congressional hearing. (Fox News Digital)

“This is the reality: 230 days ago, Hamas terrorists committed unspeakable atrocities, slaughtering innocent civilians, including women, children and the elderly, marking the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. On campuses across the country, privileged Ivy League students cheer on this barbarity, calling for the eradication of Israel and blatantly spouting anti-Jewish hatred. The clear moral failure on our college campuses has reached a new low and a blind eye is being turned to these pro-Hamas protesters will be held accountable.” Owens told Fox News Digital in comments Thursday.

Northwestern also came under direct fire from New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, who criticized Schill for the Anti-Defamation League, which downgraded the school to an “F” score on an anti-Semitism report this year.

“Isn't it true that a Jewish student who was wearing a yarmulke was spit on,” Stefanik said, before asking how long Schill expects the campus investigation into cases of anti-Semitism on campus to take.

'I can't tell you that. They will be finalized when the conduct office and the Title VI office, which are good on this issue…,” Schill said.

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“This is why you earned an F,” she said.

Elise Stefanik holds up paper "F" rank, left;  right: Northwestern President Schill

Representative Elise Stefanik and Northwestern's President Michael Schill during a hearing in the House of Representatives. (The Committee on Education and the Workforce/YouTube)

Schill also faced questions during the hearing about journalism professor Steven Thrasher, who has repeatedly justified Hamas' attack on Israel. posts on social media. Schill has repeatedly denied speaking about individual faculty members employed by the school. He said some staff members have faced disciplinary action for their behavior during the protests, but he did not identify anyone by name or how many staff members were reprimanded.

Students and residents camp outside Northwestern University

Students and residents camp outside Northwestern University during a pro-Palestinian protest, expressing solidarity with Palestinians with banners in Evanston, Illinois, United States on April 27, 2024. (Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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Fox News Digital previously reported that Thrasher has repeatedly justified Hamas' attack on Israel in social media posts and other writings.

In a November blog post, “Tearing down the Wall,” Thrasher compared Gaza to a Nazi concentration camp, arguing, “We can feel compassion for a desperate people trapped in a Nazi concentration camp.”

Professor Steven Thrasher

Steven Thrasher attends Out Magazine's Out100 Event presented by Lexus on November 21, 2019 in Long Island City, New York. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Out)

He also argued that if Jews had been able to break free from the concentration camps, they would have killed “anyone they found partying,” seemingly justifying Hamas' attack on the Nova Music Festival on October 7, when hundreds of people were killed killed and dozens of others taken hostage.

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“If the Jews who were shot and shoveled into ovens could just break through that wall, of course they would kill whoever they found partying on the other side of the wall! And of course they would take women and children hostage and drag them away. back to their inner hell, if this would give them the power to free their fellow Jews from torture and death!” He wrote.

Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez posted a video to his X account on Thursday calling for Thrasher's resignation.

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“The president of Northwestern must explain to our education committee why he allows these types of activities to take place at his university. Why he allows anti-Semitism to rage at his university. And why he allows Jewish students to feel threatened at his university. And I'm confident that our members of the Republican Party will hold that president accountable, and hopefully we can get him to resign,” Gimenez said.

The committee holding the hearing Thursday is the same panel that held the hearing presidents of Penn, Harvard and MIT last year about their approach to anti-Semitism on campus. The hearing was shortly followed by Penn President Liz Magill and Harvard President Claudine Gay resigning from their positions amid widespread backlash over whether calls for genocide against Jews violated their respective schools' codes of conduct.

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