PROF GIORDANO: Spineless college administrators must act against extremism on campus

Jewish students, in particular, have borne the brunt of this failed leadership.

Nicholas Giordano is a professor of Political Science, the host of The P.A.S. Report Podcast, and a fellow at Campus Reform’s Higher Education Fellowship. With 2 decades of teaching experience and over a decade of experience in the emergency management/homeland security arena, Professor Giordano is regularly called on to speak about issues related to government, politics, and international relations.

Since Oct. 7, college campuses across the country have become breeding grounds for extremism under the guise of protest. Spineless college administrators, especially Columbia University President Minouche Shafik, have done little to curb this dangerous trend and ignore the severity of the situation. Rather than condemn the harassment, violence, and extremism, President Shafik, like other administrators, has attempted to deflect responsibility and negotiate with these extremists, rather than protect the well-being and the rights of students. For that reason, she should resign.

Jewish students, in particular, have borne the brunt of this failed leadership. They have been harassed, intimidated, threatened, and even assaulted. Yet, these administrators do nothing, and their inaction has only emboldened those who seek to spread hate, division, and anti-America, anti-Israel, and anti-Western propaganda.

[RELATED: ‘Our University will not be occupied’– read the full statement from UT Austin president Jay Hartzell]

Chants of pro-Hamas slogans and calls for ‘Death to America’ now echo throughout these protests. At Columbia University, an extremist can be heard chanting “We are Hamas,” “We’re all Hamas, pig,” “Long live Hamas,” and “We will win.” At the University of Michigan, extremists handed out ‘Death to America’ pamphlets calling for a revolution and declaring that freedom for Palestine requires America’s death. Some protestors even promised an October 7 “1,000 more times.”

Rather than take swift, decisive action and expel the extremists, administrators at Columbia University officials tried to play both sides of the issue. After mounting pressure, University President Shafik finally relented and allowed the New York City police to dismantle the unauthorized occupation.

However, this does not absolve administration officials as it never should have reached this point. Shockingly, they announced that the University will go remote for the final two weeks of the semester. Talk about spineless cowards. Imagine paying approximately $86,000 a year in tuition to attend Columbia University only to be told that you have to attend remotely because feckless administrators have lost control of the campus! Every student should demand a refund for the administration’s failure to uphold their safety and rights and allow extremism to flourish on campus.

Protests, by their nature, are part of the American way and a fundamental component of our system enshrined in the Constitution. Unlike the extremists as they shouted down and hurled invectives at Speaker Mike Johnson as he visited Columbia University, I will always defend those exercising their God-given liberties. I encourage individuals to voice dissent is a critical component of free societies.

Colleges and universities are no strangers to demonstrations, but when these so-called ‘protests’ morph into movements that advocate hostility and violence, they cease to be legitimate protests. When they infringe on other people’s liberties, including freedom of movement and the freedom to attend in-person classes, something far more sinister and dangerous is happening.

[RELATED: LAPD arrests 93 people at USC during anti-Israel protest, campus closed ‘until further notice’]

These are not spontaneous demonstrations, rather they are part of a well-organized, well-financed movement. What concerns me is the potential for external influences to fund, instigate, and fuel this escalation in an attempt to destabilize the United States. It is no secret that our “elite” universities have received billions of dollars from foreign entities, and college campuses have been infiltrated for espionage purposes. Rather than protect the extremists, college administrators should work with law enforcement and Congress to identify if there is any involvement on behalf of foreign actors. 

College administrators must grow a spine and demonstrate courage and leadership. They must unequivocally condemn this radical extremism on campus. Immediate expulsion should be the fate of any student found guilty of harassment, threats of violence, or assault. Any foreign students engaged in this behavior should face deportation and have their visa revoked. Professors who engage in such behaviors must be held equally accountable. Tenure is not a license that grants immunity from criminal conduct, and if a professor threatens or assaults a student, they should be terminated.

We must make a clear distinction between genuine protests and acts of aggression. The administration’s response to extremism is an embarrassment to the institution of academia. Decisive action is necessary to protect the rights and freedoms of all members of the campus community. Failure to do so not only undermine the integrity of our educational institutions but also erodes the foundation of our Republic.

Editorials and op-eds reflect the opinion of the authors and not necessarily that of Campus Reform or the Leadership Institute.