Campus Watch November 30, 2023

A roundup of incidents, good and bad, happening on college campuses.
November 30, 2023

UCSB Student Senate Condemns Hamas

The UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) student senate passed a resolution on Nov. 15 condemning Hamas, prompting various pro-Palestinian protesters to disrupt the meeting and conduct a walkout.

According to Students Supporting Israel (SSI), the resolution condemning Hamas passed with 76% support in the student senate. The resolution states that the student senate “unequivocally condemn[s] Hamas for the undeniably barbaric atrocities and war crimes they perpetrated on October 7, 2023” and also condemns “any celebration of the October 7 pogrom as vehemently antisemitic, anti-humanist, and morally despicable.” However, a resolution condemning both antisemitism and Islamophobia failed during the same meeting.

Santa Barbara Hillel issued a statement calling the passage of the resolution condemning Hamas an “extraordinary accomplishment,” noting that it made “UCSB the first student government of a public university in the United States to condemn Hamas … This triumph occurred despite a coordinated effort to disrupt senate proceedings, create a hostile environment, and interfere with students’ free-speech rights,” the Hillel chapter added.

UCLA Chancellor Responds to Faculty Letter Calling on University to Denounce Anti-Israel Rallies on Campus

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block issued a response on November 17 to a faculty letter signed by more than 300 faculty members calling on the university to denounce pro-Palestinian protests on campus.

As previously reported by the Journal, the faculty letter said that they were “horrified to see Pro-Palestinian rallies on campus in which the massacres by Hamas were celebrated, including explicit calls for violence… Such celebrations create an atmosphere of fear.” Block’s response, obtained by the Journal, thanked the faculty members for their letter and stated that the chancellor joins them “in condemning the horrific Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas — and in expressing my great hope for the safe return of kidnapped hostages.”  

Block then responded to the letters’ demands. “The chants that have been reported thus far at the rallies referenced in your letter do not meet the very narrow criteria that would qualify them as incitement under the First Amendment,” he wrote. “That said, while we must support the free speech rights of our students, staff, faculty and visitors, I have continuously reiterated the need for speakers to recognize the impact of their words and actions upon those around them. I firmly denounced the use of disgusting antisemitic language that was yelled as a piñata of Prime Minister Netanyahu was beaten on campus last week, writing that ‘discrimination, threats, violence and hate have absolutely no place in a university community dedicated to open-mindedness, respect and mutual understanding.’ I will note that we are still investigating this particular event.”

NYC High School Students Riot Over Teacher Attending Pro-Israel Rally

Hundreds of students reportedly rioted at a New York City high school on November 19 over a teacher attending a rally supporting Israel a month earlier.

The New York Post reported that the riot took place for nearly two hours at Hillcrest High School in Queens and caused the teacher to lock herself in a room while students attempted to force their way into her classroom. The students rioting in the school were incensed over the teacher holding a sign saying, “I Stand With Israel” in her Facebook profile photo. “Hundreds of kids flooded into hallways and ran amok, chanting, jumping, shouting, and waving Palestinian flags or banners,” the Post reported. The teacher was eventually escorted out of the school by police.

NYC Public School Chancellor David Banks said at a November 27 press conference that the riot targeting the teacher was “completely unacceptable” and that some students have been suspended over the matter, although he did not say how many, according to the New York Daily News.

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Occupy Columbia Law Lobby

Pro-Palestinian protesters reportedly took over the main lobby at Columbia Law School on the afternoon of November 16, where, using a megaphone, they broadcast a list of demands to the school while classes were ongoing.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that, based on what the outlet had heard from students, the protesters had become so loud that it made it difficult for students to focus in class. A group of students asked the school’s associate dean of student services to handle the matter, and the associate dean’s response, allegedly, was that doing so could cause the Palestinian students to not feel safe on campus. The students alleged to the Free Beacon that the associate dean did later tell the protesters to move outside, but the protesters refused. The protesters also reportedly refused to move their banner stating “ceasefire now” from the second-floor balcony after administrators asked them to do so. The law school declined to tell the Free Beacon if the protesters would be disciplined.

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