Thursday, May 02, 2024

Columbia University President Minouche Shafik issued a cringeworthy letter to the university community, effectively apologizing for belatedly and selectively enforcing some university policies:

Dear members of the Columbia community,

Early Tuesday morning, tensions on our campus rose to new heights when a small group of protestors broke into Hamilton Hall, barricaded themselves inside, and occupied it throughout the day. This drastic escalation of many months of protest activity pushed the University to the brink, creating a disruptive environment for everyone and raising safety risks to an intolerable level.

Before the safety risks to Jews were considered "tolerable."  

Over the last few months, we have been patient in tolerating unauthorized demonstrations, including the encampment. Our academic leaders spent eight days engaging over long hours in serious dialogue in good faith with protest representatives. ... The University offered to consider new proposals on divestment and shareholder activism, to review access to our dual degree programs and global centers, to reaffirm our commitment to free speech, and to launch educational and health programs in Gaza and the West Bank. Some other universities have achieved agreement on similar proposals. Our efforts to find a solution went into Tuesday evening, but regrettably, we were unable to come to resolution.

... Columbia has a long and proud tradition of protest and activism on many important issues such as the Vietnam War, civil rights, and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Today’s protesters are also fighting for an important cause, for the rights of Palestinians and against the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza. 

 But students and outside activists breaking Hamilton Hall doors, mistreating our Public Safety officers and maintenance staff, and damaging property are acts of destruction, not political speech. Many students have also felt uncomfortable and unwelcome because of the disruption and antisemitic comments made by some individuals, especially in the protests that have persistently mobilized outside our gates.

The entire problem is spelled out in her own words. 

Columbia coddled the students who violated university rules on unauthorized gatherings, as well as policies on stifling the free speech of students who disagree with the protesters. Who knows how many policies against microaggressions and disrespect for fellow students were violated as well towards the vast majority of Columbia University's Jewish community. 

Columbia, like most universities, has policies that support free speech. Students who want to protest Israel or claim to support Palestinians have a nearly infinite number of ways to do so on campus without violating policy and without shutting down the speech of others. When the anti-Israel protesters violated those policies, Columbia decided to give in to some of their demands and did little to nothing to enforce its policies.

It rewarded terror. Because that is what these encampments were. Terror is using threats against innocents to achieve political goals, and that is exactly what the protesters were doing, The forcibly took and held public areas of the university making them forbidden for people who disagree with them. They insist that Columbia must do what they demand or else the students would refuse to leave indefinitely.

College is where kids are supposed to turn into adults. That means learning to follow the rules, not that the rules can be broken with impunity.

The university should have said, in no uncertain terms, that it will not make a single concession to those who violate school policies. If they change their methods, if they follow the rules for suggesting changes to how Columbia invests or partners with universities abroad, then their ideas would be considered but Columbia will also listen to those who oppose those rule changes. 

You know, free speech and a free marketplace of ideas. 

But instead, the protesters succeeded in getting Columbia to make concessions in the face of threats.  

No wonder the immature protesters decided that they could push the envelope further. If someone gets positive reinforcement for violating rules, that incentivizes them to violate more rules. 

There might be some psychology and economics and game theory courses taught at Columbia that teach this. Yet the President of Columbia University apparently doesn't know this.

Instead of treating the protesters like adults who must face consequences for violating the rules, she treated them like spoiled children who are rewarded for their temper tantrums in the supermarket demanding a candy. 

Her own letter shows that instead of enforcing her own policies, she decided that it would be better to set them aside because of threats and give in. According to Minouche Shafik, Columbia's policies are really guidelines for some types of violators. 

 Are these the lessons that college-age students should be learning, that blackmail and terroristic threats work and that policies are only enforced sometimes?

Is this the kind of university people want their kids to attend?

Is this the kind of university president that anyone wants?

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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