(Bloomberg) -- Columbia University president Minouche Shafik was pressed by lawmakers, including Elise Stefanik, to explain why professors who praised Hamas’ actions on Oct. 7 are still members of the faculty.

Shafik said longtime Professor Joseph Massad, who is listed as chair of the academic review committee for Columbia’s school of arts and sciences, is under investigation for using discriminatory language and was “spoken to” by his dean and department head after describing the attack that killed 1,200 people as “awesome” “astonishing,” and “astounding.” 

She added that visiting professor, Mohamed Abdou, hired this year even after having described himself as pro-Hamas, “will never work at Columbia again” once he’s done grading papers. 

Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union and led the attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Congresswoman Stefanik, a New York Republican, accused Columbia of a lack of enforcement and questioned its hiring process. Later in her testimony, Shafik told Stefanik that she would remove Massad, who also teaches about Arab politics, from his position as chair. 

In an email to Bloomberg, Massad said his description of Hamas’s actions have been misrepresented. He said he has not been informed of any investigation against him, and that he hasn’t been reprimanded by his bosses for his article or been accused of praising the attack. 

In response to Shafik’s pledge to end his chairmanship of the academic review committee, he said that one-year position is due to come to an end in a couple of weeks regardless.

Committee chair Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican, held the hearing to address antisemitism on Columbia’s New York campus after Shafik couldn’t attend a December hearing that led to the resignations of the presidents of Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania. 

Read more: Columbia Sued by Jewish Students Over ‘Endemic’ Antisemitism

When asked Wednesday if calling for the genocide of Jews is against Columbia’s policy, Shafik answered “yes.” Her former counterparts at Penn and Harvard had said it depended on the context.

Columbia has been sued twice by Jewish students claiming the Ivy League school has permitted “endemic” antisemitism to flourish for decades until the Oct. 7 attack unleashed an “intolerable wave” of anti-Israeli abuse. A Brandeis University study found Columbia is one of the most hostile in the US for Jewish students.

For faculty who make remarks that “cross the line in terms of antisemitism, there will be consequences,” said Shafik. 

Shafik said five professors have been “taken out of the classroom” and David Greenwald, co-chair of the board of trustees at Columbia who also appeared before the committee, said 90 students are facing disciplinary action for their behavior.

The campus has been rattled by protests and counterprotests since the Hamas attack, which prompted retaliation from the Jewish state that has killed some 33,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

--With assistance from Janet Lorin.

(Updates with comment from Massad in sixth paragraph.)

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