BY MOSHE HILL OPINION COLUMNS DECEMBER 13 2023
The veil of academia was punctured last week when Congresswoman Elise Stefalnik (R-NY-21) shredded the presidents of three major universities with a simple question: “Does calling for the genocide of Jews constitute harassment on your campuses?” Astonishingly, none of the university presidents were able to simply say “yes.” This caused a tidal wave of backlash, and that should only be the beginning.
The rot in the university system, the poison in the Ivy League, has been known to conservatives for over 30 years. The reaction to the atrocities on October 7 on these campuses exposed this decay to those who are not ensconced in conservative media. Seeing thousands of students march in favor of terrorists and against Western civilization woke people up and began to question what was being taught on these campuses.
That question was answered when Stefanik pressed Harvard University President Claudine Gay, MIT University President Sally Kornbluth, and University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill during a Committee on Education & the Workforce hearing on “Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism.” Phrases like “if the speech turned into conduct” or “depends on the context” threw defenders of the Jewish people into apoplectic fits of rage.
The issue that people have with these universities is their obscene hypocrisy when it comes to free speech. The defenders of Harvard, MIT, and Penn will claim that calling for the genocide of Jews is protected under free speech principles, and that it is the Republicans who are being hypocrites, as they are the party of free speech. However, the college campus is not a haven of free speech, and hasn’t been for a long time.
On college campuses, you will only hear one side of any political issue – the leftwing side. How often do college campuses bring in someone like Douglas Murray to talk about race, or Abigail Schrier to talk about gender? Is Bjorn Lumborg welcome at Harvard to discuss climate change, or Jordan Peterson to talk about psychology? Each of these people are experts in their field, world-renowned with large followings, yet cannot book a gig on a college campus with the same ease as a leftwing speaker can with a fraction of their knowledge and influence. Even when a rightwing speaker is invited on campus through a student group like Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), it’s protested by students and faculty to the point where those who are genuinely interested in expanding their horizons – which is what academia is supposed to be for – are scared away.
After the hearing, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro blasted Penn President Liz Magill. “Leaders have a responsibility to speak and act with moral clarity, and Liz Magill failed to meet that simple test. That was an unacceptable statement from the president of Penn,” Shapiro told Jewish Insider. “Frankly, I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. It should not be hard to condemn genocide.” Penn has lost at least $100 million in future donations in the past week. On Friday, Magill resigned from her position.
The knives came out for Harvard President Claudine Gay as well. Investigative journalist Christopher Rufo revealed that Gay plagiarized portions of her PhD thesis and has had little to no academic impact that is common for her peers and past presidents. Gay is being widely seen as the logical conclusion of the infiltration of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” or DEI practices in academia. This is not the same as an affirmative action hire. Those who subscribe to the DEI ideology also subscribe to the “oppressor/oppressed binary” methodology of looking at all conflict, which is not only flawed but invariably leads to hatred of Jews, Asians, Whites, and anyone else viewed as “oppressors.” Over 500 Harvard professors signed a letter in support of Gay, showing that this issue is not limited to one person, but endemic to the university as a whole. Then, on Tuesday, the Harvard board announced its support for Gay, and that they would be keeping her on as president.
Even if these three presidents are ousted from their positions, that’s only the beginning of the work ahead. American universities need to completely reorient themselves to become bastions of higher education, not leftwing indoctrination. This may be near impossible given the reports that billions of dollars are flowing to the university system from foreign sources like Qatar, and they are using these “donations” (aka bribes) to staff up these universities with professors whose ideology is antithetical to Western education and ideals. It’s possible the university system has peaked, and that employers should stop looking at a college degree as an asset; rather viewing it as a liability.
It’s also imperative that parents stop sending their children to these institutions before there are some fundamental changes. Parents spend 18 years raising someone and then pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege of turning their own child against everything they believe. It’s a travesty, and it must end.
These universities need to either commit to what they claim their ideals are, or publicly declare what they have been doing, so people can make informed decisions whether or not to continue sending students there, hiring from there, or donating there.