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Northwestern University accused of stonewalling anti-Israel unrest investigation by House panel

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Congressional investigators are accusing Northwestern University’s president of stonewalling their investigation into the university’s response to anti-Israel unrest on its campus.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., the chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, sent a letter to Northwestern University leaders on Friday, slamming their failure to respond to lawmakers’ questions sent nearly a month ago.

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“Unfortunately, rather than being cooperative and transparent, Northwestern has obstructed the committee’s investigation,” Foxx wrote.

Foxx told Fox News the lack of response by Northwestern suggested the university hasn’t been taking the threat of antisemitism on its campus seriously and that Jewish students there aren’t any safer today than they were a month ago.

READ THE LETTER BELOW. APP USERS: CLICK HERE.

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“We do not want to see these students going back on the campuses where they don’t feel safe, where they are not safe. We have to get to the bottom of this,” the congresswoman said.

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The House committee launched its investigation after a group of students and faculty held a week of demonstrations on campus that included an encampment on Deering Meadow in late April, which ended after university officials reached a negotiated agreement with the protesters.

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., seen here at a December 2023 news conference, sent a letter to Northwestern University’s president demanding answers over its response to anti-Israel unrest on campus. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images, File)

Northwestern President Michael Schill defended those negotiations at a hearing on Capitol Hill on May 23, 2024, claiming he didn’t give in to any of the protesters’ demands, while also refusing to answer many of lawmakers’ questions.

Two weeks later, Foxx said school officials still were refusing to cooperate.

“Northwestern produced a mere 13 pages of documents responsive to the committee’s priority requests that were not already public,” Foxx wrote. “Despite the committee’s specific request for records such as notes, summaries, and recordings that would offer real insight into the board’s deliberations, Northwestern failed to produce any such responsive documents or certify that they do not exist.”

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Fox News has reached out to Northwestern University for comment.

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Congressional investigators are giving Northwestern one week – until June 17 – to respond to their requests.

If the university fails to meet that deadline, Foxx said Northwestern will become just the second institution of higher education to be subpoenad by the House Committee on Education and Workforce going back to 1867. Earlier this year, Harvard became the first, over its refusal to cooperate with investigators looking into antisemitism on its campus.

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Also at stake for Northwestern is the hundreds of millions of dollars it receives each year in federal funding. In 2023 alone, the university received over $682 million in federal research grants. Foxx said if school officials were to continue ignoring Congress’ demands, that funding ultimately could be cut off.

“Northwestern’s capitulation to its antisemitic encampment and its impeding of the committee’s oversight are unbecoming of a leading university. Northwestern’s federal funding is predicated on adherence to its legal obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI),” Foxx wrote. “It is inappropriate to expect taxpayers to continue providing federal funding while Northwestern appears to be in violation of its obligations to its Jewish students, faculty, and staff under Title VI and defies the Committee’s oversight.”

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Detroit, MI

Morning 4: Police find body on shoulder of I-96 in Metro Detroit — and other news

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Morning 4: Police find body on shoulder of I-96 in Metro Detroit — and other news


Morning 4 is a quick roundup of stories we think you should know about to start your day. So, let’s get to the news.


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Milwaukee, WI

Evers seeks vendor for Milwaukee Public Schools audit

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Evers seeks vendor for Milwaukee Public Schools audit


Gov. Tony Evers said it’s “critical” that Milwaukee Public Schools cooperate with the Department of Public Instruction as he takes steps to begin independent audits of the district’s operations and instructional practices. 

The guv announced potential auditors will have until next Monday to respond to a request for services to conduct an operational audit of Milwaukee Public Schools, which will be done under an existing state contract with entities that have experience with educational audits. The guv also announced a list of nine eligible vendors. 

“It is critical the district cooperates with the DPI as it relates to the financial audit as we take steps to begin additional audits as soon as possible with independent auditors who have the necessary education sector experience to conduct both audits thoughtfully and effectively,” Evers said. “I look forward to these audits getting underway so we can support kids, families, and educators in MPS, as well as the greater community.”

According to the request for services, the operational audit seeks an “unbiased, independent” assessment of MPS, including a review of compliance and reporting functions, financial management and controls, a review of human resources processes and policies, and recommendations for the district. 

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Milwaukee Board of School Directors President Marva Herndon in a statement today said the district is committed to resolving the situation. 

“As we continue to focus on the students, families, staff and community of MPS, we welcome and appreciate the support of our partners in the governor’s office,” Herndon said. “We, too, are committed to identifying root causes of district challenges so they can be addressed moving forward.”

Evers last week said he would move forward with plans to audit the district’s operations and how it’s educating students. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, has called for the Legislative Audit Bureau to conduct a review instead. He called Evers’ decision “disappointing” and said the guv’s administration “must be careful to choose an auditor with no ulterior motives or other entanglements.”

Evers has requested a waiver to expedite the process of hiring an auditor with experience auditing school and classroom settings to conduct an instructional audit of MPS.



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Minneapolis, MN

Utility regulators hosted annual conference in Minneapolis with money from entities they oversee

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Utility regulators hosted annual conference in Minneapolis with money from entities they oversee


Minnesota’s utility regulators hosted a record more than 600 people in downtown Minneapolis last week for an annual regional conference, but some of the sponsors helping to pay for the event are also at the whim of the regulators’ rulings.

That financial relationship at the center of the Mid-America Regulatory Conference (MARC) has some energy advocacy groups feeling uneasy about what they worry is a conflict of interest. But the lead organizer of this year’s event, Katie Sieben, the DFL chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), argued the gathering helps commissioners foster connection and make stronger decisions, not blur the lines between government and business.

This year, most of the sponsors for the conference that wrapped last week either have regular business before the PUC, participate in major cases or represent those that do. That includes: unions; trade groups for power developers; trade groups that represent electric and gas companies; prominent local environmental nonprofits; and several law firms that help businesses navigate the regulatory system.

“It creates an optics and public trust issue that could be particularly damaging to commissions that are doing their jobs in good faith and trying to invite diverse voices to the table as the Minnesota PUC has begun to do,” said Karlee Weinmann, a Minnesota-based researcher for the national advocacy group Energy and Policy Institute that is broadly critical of influence from utilities and fossil fuel interests. “It gives the impression that access can be bought.”

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Sponsorships are commonplace for MARC and other utility regulator associations but still periodically draw criticism, including MARC’s event last year in Michigan.

Sieben, however, said she deliberately worked to highlight voices from tribes, unions, diversity and equity advocates and consumer groups during the four-day Minneapolis conference, which MARC has put on since the 1950s. She said the conference broke no ethics rules and it is good for regulators to meet during an “increasingly complex” energy transition.

“Our access as regulators is not for sale,” Sieben said. “I stand by the decisions that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission have made since I’ve been the chair of the commission, and the public interest is always what we’re striving for, and I think that we have protected and will continue to protect [it].”

Big spenders

Top sponsors in Minneapolis were Google, regulatory consulting firm AESL and three unions: the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49. Each chipped in at least $20,000, though there were sponsorships as low as $1,500. Signage on booths, TV displays, hotel key cards and flower arrangements promoted sponsors around the Renaissance Hotel.

MARC bans entities it directly regulates from sponsoring the event, including utility companies such as Xcel Energy or CenterPoint Energy in Minnesota since the PUC oversees their rates and business. Trade groups representing utility companies were sponsors, however, including Edison Electric Institute and the American Gas Association.

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Kevin Pranis, marketing manager for LIUNA in Minnesota, said “MARC provided a unique opportunity to show other states what organized labor can contribute, and that’s why you saw so many unions step forward. We’re ready to be at the table and tired of being on the menu.”

Beyond sponsors, MARC’s other income comes from registration fees for the event, which top out at $775 for the general rate. Minnesota’s biggest electric and gas utilities had several people sign up for the conference — registrations that would add up to thousands of dollars — as did environmental groups, energy developers and state officials.

MARC, made up of utility regulators in 14 states from Minnesota to Texas, rotates its annual conference among member states. The event is the nonprofit’s moneymaker, bringing in a net profit of $92,480 last year and $103,350 in 2022.

That cash funds the conference itself, as well as other basics like audits and the salary of a part-time executive coordinator. It also pays for travel stipends — $500 this year — for commissioners to attend the conference.

MARC also covers travel, hotels and food for members who attend a commissioners-only meeting typically held in January in warm-weather states such as Texas or Oklahoma. In Houston this year, the stipend was up to $1,000. Sieben said MARC tends to prioritize cities with direct flights and less risk of disruptive winter storms. MARC also sometimes pays for commissioners to attend trainings on utility rates.

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Coming together

The Minneapolis conference included substantive panels on energy topics such as electrifying transportation, data centers, the Inflation Reduction Act, building a workforce, equity and affordability. This year, panels featured regulators from the state and federal level, utility executives and industry leaders, including Xcel President Ryan Long, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and Lower Sioux Indian Community President Robert Larsen.

MARC organized tours of big or notable energy facilities. And there was entertainment, including a walking tour of downtown Minneapolis, a Minnesota Twins game and a reception with food and drinks that LIUNA hosted and featured Sieben.

Weinmann, helping a consumer advocate group in a case about Xcel gas rates at the PUC, said it’s helpful for regulators to be on the cutting edge of hard topics during a challenging transition away from fossil fuels. She also said Minnesota is better than other commissions in being more inclusive of underrepresented voices in debates about utility rates and power projects.

Larsen praised the PUC’s steps to work with tribes during a keynote panel for the event. Sieben said it was good for other states to hear about how Minnesota incorporates tribal voices and other perspectives, such as an Xcel foreman who spoke on a panel about the benefits of the company’s massive Becker solar project as the huge coal plant next door retires.

Pranis also said the the PUC is “increasingly recognized as a national leader in efforts to bring the priorities and voices of working families into regulatory decisions that have historically been dominated by energy companies and environmental advocates.”

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Still, John Farrell, a critic of the regulated monopoly system for power companies and co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said not everyone has the opportunity to be high-level financial sponsors for events like MARC. Weinmann said state legislators could approve more funding to cover events with utility regulators.

Donors are “getting decisions that are the basis for whether or not their business is successful or not, and here they are having a financial relationship with their regulators outside of that,” Farrell said. “It’s really bothersome.”



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