Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest
Watching Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s questioning of the presidents of MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania may have been eye-opening for many, but for those of us who have been paying attention, it wasn’t. Their answers were dumb and once the full extent of their discriminatory policies are exposed in private litigation and Title VI federal and congressional investigations, it will be clear why they answered as they did, hoping to avoid the scrutiny they deserve. Even dumber are the students being taught at these and most of our colleges and universities. Dumbest are the boards which have for the past decades ignored the policies which have led to this, a clear violation of their fiduciary responsibilities to these institutions which have been rotted out under their watch.
Stefanik asked Claudine Gay (Harvard), Elizabeth Magill (University of Pennsylvania) and Sally Kornbluth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) whether “From the river to the sea” is genocidal, and they all agreed it is. She then asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates their schools’ code of conduct. With smirks Gay said, “It can be, depending on the context,” Magill replied “It is a context-dependent decision, Congresswoman.” Kornbluth indicated it would, “If targeting individuals, not making public statements.” Since then, Gay and Magill have submitted “clarifying” statements. Both Gay and Magill’s schools rank at the very bottom of FIRE’s free speech ranking of 248 universities. Nevertheless, either because of confusion or attempted distraction, the presidents of three of the leading universities in the country muddied the water between free speech and their obligations to provide a safe space for students and scholars.
Fun facts: (A) calling for genocide against Jews, if not delivered to incite a mob to violence, is 100% Constitutionally protected speech -- only in the sense it can't be punished by government. (B) You are not the government; you are a cowardly college administrator and in no way does the 1st Amendment force you to accept brain dead neo-Nazis in your student body.
I'm no Constitutional legal scholar, but I believe "incitement" has a high threshold, to wit: Online celebration of Oct 7, Holocaust denial, "Hitler was right", repeating dopey anti-Jew conspiracy theories, "Globalize the Intifada": shitty opinions but not incitement. Standing in the middle of an angry nighttime student mob outside the campus Hillel House and yelling "let's give those Jews what they deserve" into a bullhorn: this is incitement.
This is by design, otherwise you would have to accept the "stochastic violence" narrative in which misgendering someone, by some convoluted logic, would theoretically result in violence against trans people. [quote]
In his usual terse way, he highlights the problem their testimony opens up: A long history of discriminatory policies that puts their hypocritical defense to shame. There are countless examples, but here are a few:
MIT: “Jewish students are blocked from attending classes, and fearful of setting foot on campus. Jewish employees fear bringing their children to MIT Daycare. The law-breaking and rule-defying is explicitly intended as a challenge [to] the presence of Jews at MIT… MIT openly acknowledged it failed to take action against those harassing Jewish students because it feared it would cause them to lose their student visa status. (The extra money it gets from full tuitions by foreign students is not an inconsiderable factor in their admission and in rising campus antisemitism.)
Harvard: The school would most certainly never tolerate a Ku Klux Klan club that advocated lynching blacks but it refused to condemn student groups that blamed the atrocities of October 7 “entirely on Israel,” and allowed open harassment of Jewish students.
University of Pennsylvania: Two students have brought a civil suit against the university under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Among the allegations are these:
The harassment and discrimination on campus and in the classroom are relentless and intolerable. Plaintiffs and their Jewish peers are routinely subjected to vile and threatening antisemitic slurs and chants such as “Intifada Revolution,” “from the River to the Sea” “Fuck the Jews,” “the Jews deserve everything that is happening to them,” “you are a dirty Jew, don’t look at us,” “keep walking, you dirty little Jew,” “get out of here kikes!” and “go back to where you came from.” Plaintiffs and other Jewish students must traverse classrooms, dormitories, and buildings vandalized with antisemitic graffiti. Subjected to intense anti-Jewish vitriol, these students have been deprived of the ability and opportunity to fully and meaningfully participate in Penn’s educational and other programs.
Antisemitism has been a growing institutional problem on Penn’s campus and other university campuses for many years, increasing by over forty percent in 2022 alone, and the abuse and intimidation have steadily intensified. A recent study found that nearly seventy-three percent of Jewish college students have seen or been the victim of antisemitism since the start of the fall 2023 semester.
Qatar, the main funder of Hamas, is by a large margin the main contributor (through state-sponsored NGOs) to our major universities. Because Qatar makes these payments by way of cutouts, at least one of the three presidents questioned denied receiving money from Qatar.
With these ninnies at the top of the educational establishment, it’s no wonder the young people marshalled through our education factories are really dumb. While a survey showed most college students agreed with “From the river to the sea,” they were ignorant of its meaning.
…only 47% of the students who embrace the slogan were able to name the river and the sea. Some of the alternative answers were the Nile and the Euphrates, the Caribbean, the Dead Sea (which is a lake) and the Atlantic. Less than a quarter of these students knew who Yasser Arafat was (12 of them, or more than 10%, thought he was the first prime minister of Israel). Asked in what decade Israelis and Palestinians had signed the Oslo Accords, more than a quarter of the chant’s supporters claimed that no such peace agreements had ever been signed. There’s no shame in being ignorant, unless one is screaming for the extermination of millions.
Would learning basic political facts about the conflict moderate students’ opinions? A Latino engineering student from a southern university reported “definitely” supporting “from the river to the sea” because “Palestinians and Israelis should live in two separate countries, side by side.” Shown on a map of the region that a Palestinian state would stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, leaving no room for Israel, he downgraded his enthusiasm for the mantra to “probably not.” Of the 80 students who saw the map, 75% similarly changed their view.
An art student from a liberal arts college in New England “probably” supported the slogan because “Palestinians and Israelis should live together in one state.” But when informed of recent polls in which most Palestinians and Israelis rejected the one-state solution, this student lost his enthusiasm. So did 41% of students in that group.
A third group of students claimed the chant called for a Palestine to replace Israel. Sixty percent of those students reduced their support for the slogan when they learned it would entail the subjugation, expulsion or annihilation of seven million Jewish and two million Arab Israelis. Yet another 14% of students reconsidered their stance when they read that many American Jews considered the chant to be threatening, even racist. (This argument had a weaker effect on students who self-identified as progressive, despite their alleged sensitivity to offensive speech.)
In all, after learning a handful of basic facts about the Middle East, 67.8% of students went from supporting “from the river to sea” to rejecting the mantra. These students had never seen a map of the Mideast and knew little about the region’s geography, history or demography. Those who hope to encourage extremism depend on the political ignorance of their audiences. It is time for good teachers to join the fray and combat bias with education.
Good luck finding “good teachers” with the educators stacked from top to bottom not on merit but on identarian bases. Choosing teachers on such bases isn’t the end of it. Admissions are also being made using identarian standards, and jiggering has consequences.
An average 2023 GPA Harvard student would be a bottom 10% actual intelligence 1988 Harvard student, and an average 1988 GPA Harvard student would in the top 10% actual intelligence 2023 Harvard student.
This is covered up by ever-increasing grade inflation, with penalties sometimes exacted on professors who refuse to play the game.
The boards of trustees and donors (often coexistent) seem to have finally seen a glimmer of light. Some big donors, the last with a $100-million-dollar donation in the balance, are calling for change. Magill’s Penn must decide whether to keep her or lose that tranche of big bucks. The board of Penn’s Wharton Business School, “concerned about the dangerous and toxic culture on our campus led by a select group of students and faculty, permitted by the University leadership,” has asked Magill to resign. A number of Penn trustees reportedly told her she should consider resigning. (Late-breaking news is that Magill resigned Saturday evening. She won't be smirking at anybody anytime soon. Board chairman Scott Bok also resigned only minutes later.) For once, a board of trustees has forced a university president to step down. It’s rumored that Harvard’s Gay is about to be pressured out of office soon as well. The boards of Harvard and MIT should review whether they have been complicit and consider resigning to allow some more courageous and sentient people to take their place.
Perhaps it will spur them on to know that 72 bipartisan members of Congress are demanding the removal of all three of these presidents. A congressional hearing on antisemitism at Harvard has been announced. Suits have been filed as well against NYU and the University of California, Berkeley. More private suits are in the works. Several public universities, the latest being the University of Wisconsin, are being forced to reduce, restructure, or eliminate their substantial DEI bureaucracies, which have done so much to enforce a Marxist-like division on campuses based on identity, a driving force of campus antisemitism and enforcing notions that free speech is a tool of White supremacy.
Everything from admissions policies to hiring policies and the very creation of these DEI remoras must be revamped. Professor Glenn Reynolds offers some valuable suggestions. The mere adoption of speech codes, removal of these three presidents, and even some reshuffling of the boards which oversee these three universities is not enough to clean up the shame of our present higher education failures, but it’s a start.