Campus Watch March 28, 2024

A roundup of incidents, good and bad, happening on school campuses.
March 28, 2024

Columbia Student Group Holds Virtual “Resistance 101” Event

The Columbia University Apartheid Divest student group held a “Resistance 101” event on March 24 that reportedly included speakers that praised terrorism.

According to The Washington Free Beacon and The Jerusalem Post, Samidoun International Coordinator Charlotte Kates called the Oct. 7 massacre as “necessary action” and that it provided a glimpse into “the potential of a future for Palestine liberated from Zionism.” She also reportedly claimed that “there is nothing wrong with being a member of Hamas.” Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat, Kates’s husband, said during the event that “hijacking airplanes… was one of the most important tactics that the Palestinian resistance have engaged in” and that he has conversations with his “friends and brothers in Hamas [and] Islamic Jihad.” 

Israeli intelligence reportedly believes that Barakat is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, though he reportedly denies it.

A university spokesperson told the Post, “We are aware of an unsanctioned, unapproved event that took place last night. Columbia canceled the event, denying requests to use university space, as did Barnard. Despite this, the event organizers held the event in a residence with an online option. We are investigating this matter and will not tolerate violations of university policy.”

UC Berkeley Prof Ends Sit-In Protest

UC Berkeley Professor Ron Hassner ended his nearly two-week long sit-in protest on March 21 after he announced that the university agreed to his three requests to better protest Jewish students on campus.

Hassner’s three requests were for the university to allow all students to pass through Sather Gate entrance into the university unimpeded by protesters, invite back any canceled speakers and make antisemitism and Islamophobia training required on campus. He claimed that the university will now be patrolling Sather Gate “to actively document bullying, abuse, blocking or intrusion on personal space,” Jewish News Syndicate reported. He also said that attorney Ran Bar-Yoshafat, a former Israel Defense Force member, spoke on campus on March 18 after his initial Feb. 26 speech at the university was canceled by a pro-Palestinian mob and that the university assured him that the antisemitism and Islamophobia training will be mandatory.

“There is a plan forming to schedule a national sleep-in so that professors all across the U.S., Jewish and non-Jewish, demonstrate their resolve to banish antisemitism from their campuses,” Hassner told JNS.

House Education Committee Announces Investigation into UC Berkeley Over Campus Antisemitism

The House Committee Education on Education and the Workforce is investigating UC Berkeley over its response to recent incidents of antisemitism.

InsideHigherEd reported that Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), who chairs the committee, wrote in a March 19 letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ, UC President Michael Drake and UC Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib that the committee has “grave concerns” over the university’s response to antisemitic incidents on campus. This included the university’s response to a pro-Palestinian mob canceling a Feb. 26 speech by Ran Bar-Yoshafat; Foxx criticized the university for failing “to identify the riot as an act of anti-Jewish hate.”

University Assistant Vice Chancellor for Executive Communications Dan Mogulof told InsideHigherEd, “We will provide a comprehensive response to the committee’s questions and concerns. UC Berkeley has long been committed to confronting antisemitism, and to supporting the needs and interests of its Jewish students, faculty, and staff.”

Poll: 73% of Jewish Students Believe “They Are Less Safe” on Campus After Oct. 7

A poll released by the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) and Schoen Cooperman Research on March 18 found that 73% of Jewish students believe “they are less safe on college campuses” since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Other findings in the poll include that 65% of Jewish students believe the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement “poses a threat to Jewish students” and that 62% believe that “it is important to use their voice to stand against the BDS movement on college campuses.” Eighty-one percent voiced the importance of standing “with the Jewish community on campus” and 66% said “it is important to use their voice to stand with Israel on campus.”

ICC CEO Jacob Baime said in a statement to The Algemeiner, “BDS is not about free speech. It’s about free hate. It’s time for university leaders to step in and cancel these [BDS] votes.” Baime also praised Jewish students’ “remarkable resilience” in “standing up for Israel and their Jewish identity.” “Their strength and their determination in the face of adversity will only make them stronger as they continue to encounter antisemitism on campus after they graduate,” he said.

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