The College Witch Hunt Began With Jews
As bad as it looks, the atmosphere on college campuses in the United States is ripe for change. The willingness of parents to fork over significant portions of their families’ wealth and income to subsidize the indoctrination of their children with ideologies, attitudes and behaviors that render them unfit for the responsibilities of adulthood is evaporating — and fast.
And when it comes to the ideologues who want to shut down free speech on college campuses — and the administrators who coddle them — the willingness of students to shoulder student loans for the privilege of being shouted down and called privileged bigots by their classmates is also diminishing. Most young people do not go to school to become the targets of ideological witch-hunts. They go to school to get an education.
To see the wisdom of crowds in action, we only have to look at the closure of several dormitories at the University of Missouri, after a mob of social justice warriors in the student body (aided and abetted by a few deranged faculty members) worked their magic in 2015. Not only did they destroy the reputation of their school, but they drove several staff members, including the school’s president, from their jobs.
People did not like what they saw, and — as a result — students are staying away from the school in droves. One report indicates that between 2015 and 2016, Mizzou’s incoming class shrank from more than 6,000 students to less than 5,000. The decline continued in 2017.
Mizzou is not the only school that has paid the price for allowing its intellectual life to be disrupted by social justice warriors. After protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement deprived DePaul students of the right to hear Milo Yiannopoulos speak — going so far as to menace the speaker and grab the microphone out of his hand — the ensuing controversy drove Dennis Holtschneider, the school’s president, from his job.
Such school- and career-wrecking behavior was also seen at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The competence of that school’s president, George Bridges, is under intense scrutiny after students recently harassed and bullied a dissident biology professor, Brett Weinstein, to the extent that the campus police told him that his safety could not be assured. His sin? Objecting to a day in which students and faculty with a certain skin color were pressured to stay off campus. That’s racism, straight up.
After a few weeks of coddling the students responsible for the witch-hunt like atmosphere at the school, Bridges has stated that some of the students might actually be punished for their actions. This is a significant change. One year ago, Bridges chided the University of Chicago for announcing that it would not allow demands for political correctness to hinder intellectual inquiry on its campus. Apparently, Bridges has decided that he does not want the dorms at Evergreen to go empty, like they have at Mizzou.
The outrages at Mizzou, DePaul and Evergreen have their roots in the anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish bullying and harassment that has taken place in schools throughout the country, particularly at colleges that have chapters of Students for Justice and Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Brotherhood-founded Muslim Student Association (MSA).
School presidents and administrators have allowed these organizations to cause far too much trouble for far too long. The behavior of anti-Zionist activists and the unwillingness of school administrators to act has degraded the intellectual and educational atmosphere on college campuses. Things have gotten so bad that a lawsuit was filed against San Francisco State University over the anti-Jewish animus that has manifested itself at the school since 1968.
Higher education, as a whole, is paying the price for the failure to confront the misdeeds of groups like SJP and MSA. The intimidation of students and faculty at Mizzou, DePaul and Evergreen State College is merely an expansion of the mistreatment endured by Jews on colleges throughout the country. Once it became evident that Jews could be treated badly without consequence, it was only a matter of time before ideologues enlarged their target base.
The bullies will not give up without a fight. Like any millennial movement faced with defeat, the social justice warriors who have made life so difficult for Jews (and others) on college campuses over the past few years will likely double down on their craziness when they get back to school this upcoming fall. We can expect their tone to be a confrontational one, as they try to maintain their ability to disrupt the intellectual growth of their fellow students and silence opposing ideological voices, who just now have started to find their voice.
Fasten your seatbelts, folks. The worst moments of a witch-hunt come right before it collapses; but collapse it will.