Last week, Trump issued an executive order calling for schools that do not uphold free speech to be stripped of their federal research grants.
It’s a solid step, but we’ll have to wait and see if the agencies will actually take action against these schools. Who knows if this will be just another proclamation — this time made via pen and paper instead of Twitter — but one that still, ultimately, has no teeth. Remember that despite all of Trump’s tough talk on illegal immigration, more illegals crossed the border last month than at any time during Obama’s presidency.
But back to the executive order. You heard some cheers at that signing ceremony, but not everyone is on board. Janet Napolitano, who served in Obama’s cabinet before becoming president of the University of California system, of which UC Berkeley is a part, issued a statement calling the order “unnecessary,” reported Campus Reform.
She said “the University of California is ground zero for robust exchanges of ideas and differing viewpoints.”
Well, that could be taken a couple of different ways. Sure, Berkeley was where the campus free speech movement started a half-century ago. But the school has looked like a very different sort of Ground Zero these past couple of years, what with the fiery carnage before Milo’s speech and subsequent battles between what seemed like two separate civilizations with diametrically opposed worldviews.
Napolitano says that the University of California’s policies are already in line with the First Amendment, but if you’ve learned one thing watching the more than 300 Campus Unmasked episodes I’ve done, it should be that the letter of the law doesn’t matter on these campuses when you’re dealing with administrators who will interpret policies very liberally — by which I mean both loosely and in a left-leaning way — whenever it suits their ideology.
You’ll Never Guess Which State University Supports Israel
Colleges all across America have groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and the Jewish Voice for Peace, which support boycotting Israel. Out of all 50 American states, you would think that administrators in California, at least, would be on board with anti-Israel activism. And yet, all ten chancellors of the University of California system recently put out a statement condemning the boycott of Israel, according to Campus Reform.
Well, the ten chancellors of the University of California system co-authored a letter last week and, unlike what you might expect from such a blue state, they are all heavily opposed to the BDS movement. They said “We believe a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty, as well as the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on our campuses, including debate and discourse regarding conflicts in the Middle East.”
See, here’s the thing: whether you support or oppose Israel, it behooves you to let students experience Israel. That way they can back up their arguments with actual fact instead of the latest, media-orchestrated smear campaign. If you ban studying abroad in Israel, you make people wonder what exactly it is you’re trying to hide — Streisand Effect, folks.
It does seem to be the trend that students and faculty push divestment initiatives, but the big wheels, you know, the ones who actually control the money, aren’t quite on board. New York University’s student senate wanted to divest from General Electric and other companies that do business with Israel, but the administration spiked that proposal — their Trustees apparently think that “the endowment should not be used for making political statements.”
Similarly, after a University of Michigan professor first agreed to write a recommendation for one of his students to study abroad and then later reneged on that agreement when he found out she wanted to go to Israel, UMich denied him a merit raise and barred him from taking a sabbatical for two years.
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