Recently, there has been notable controversy surrounding the responses of several major university presidents to incidents of antisemitism on their campuses. Claudine Gay of Harvard University, Sally Kornbluth of MIT, and Liz Magill, the former head of the University of Pennsylvania, faced criticism for their reactions to students and faculty advocating for “Intifada Revolution” and expressing antisemitic sentiments. This issue was highlighted during their testimonies at the House Committee on Education and Workforce hearings, where they were accused of failing to adequately condemn these actions.
Our Three Blind Mice
“Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
See how they run. See how they run…”
The recent testimonies of the three university presidents (Claudine Gay of Harvard, Sally Kornbluth of MIT, and [soon to be departed?] University of Pennsylvania’s Liz McGill)…
— Victor Davis Hanson (@VDHanson) December 9, 2023
Victor Davis Hanson, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, criticized these university leaders in a detailed thread, accusing them of damaging the reputation of higher education. He argued that these presidents, who are known for enforcing strict policies against any language or expression deemed politically incorrect, displayed double standards by not taking strong action against antisemitic behavior. Hanson pointed out that while these universities are quick to punish any perceived transgression against progressive ideals, they seemed reluctant to address serious issues like antisemitism.
Hanson also suggested that the apologies from these university heads seemed more driven by financial concerns, like the potential loss of donations, rather than genuine remorse. He proposed that the government should hold universities accountable by conditioning federal subsidies on non-discriminatory policies, reevaluating tax exemptions for university donations, taxing endowment income, and rethinking the role of government in student loans.
While Hanson’s ideas are thought-provoking, there is skepticism about their immediate implementation due to the complex and deeply rooted nature of current higher education systems in the U.S., which often prioritize progressive agendas over traditional academic learning. Hanson’s willingness to address these contentious issues sets him apart as a thinker unafraid to challenge the status quo in academic circles.