Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., is hitting back at professors at Indiana University who criticized him for raising the alarm about antisemitism on campus.
Banks had written a letter to university president Dr. Pamela Whitten earlier this month over the recent resignation of two students from the Indiana University Student Government (IUSG). The letter quotes the students as calling the IUSG body president “blatantly antisemitic” who “does not want to work with Jewish students.” The IUSG since announced it has started an internal investigation into allegations of antisemitism.
An open letter signed by more than 200 people, many of them IU faculty and staff, responded to Banks’ letter and called it “threatening” and “inappropriate.”
“These professors are proving my original point. Nowhere in their response do they address my main concern in the letter: IU student leaders feel antisemitism on campus is being ignored,” Banks told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
“When students speak out, it is unacceptable to dismiss their concerns because it doesn’t align with woke political views. IU has a duty to ensure every student feels safe on campus, and I have full confidence in President Whitten’s commitment to that duty,” he said.
In his Nov. 15 letter, Banks requested a briefing from the school by the start of December and suggested that its federal dollars may take a hit if officials failed to find an adequate remedy.
“As an IU graduate, allegations of antisemitism at my alma mater are personal and extremely concerning to me,” Banks wrote at the time.
“As a lawmaker, I would note that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits anti-Jewish and antisemitic discrimination. If IU administrators condone or tolerate campus antisemitism, the university could lose access to federal funding.”
The Nov. 21 letter condemning him read, “We are alarmed by the threatening tone of the letter, the way in which it injects ideology into the proper governance of the university, and the way it conflates academic leadership with the policing of controversial ideas. We understand that antisemitism is a form of hate that has no place in a diverse and inclusive university. We feel the same way about all forms of bigotry, including anti-Arab and Islamophobic discrimination and hostility.”
A petition led by the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana, which includes IU faculty and students, has over 700 signatures in support of Banks.
The petition reads, “Criticism over the fact that Rep. Banks did not mention Islamophobia in his letter simply demonstrates that the professors were not genuine in their professed concern about the welfare of Jewish students at IU. Not only is there no documented spike in anti-Muslim behavior at IU or college campuses in general, but many of the perpetrators of anti-Jewish behavior on college campuses are themselves Muslim.”
“We are deeply appreciative of Rep. Banks’ concern over Jew hatred at IU and hope that his efforts will motivate IU’s administration to begin to protect its Jewish students by enforcing existing policies,” they wrote.
Fox News Digital has reached out to the university for comment.