Unruly Mobs on Campus

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Unruly Mobs on Campus

June 16, 2024 - 15:14
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Pro-Palestinian protests erupted over the war in Gaza recently on the UW-Madison campus. Students, professors, and agitators put up tents on Library Mall without the necessary permits to do so. The UW-Madison Chancellor, Jennifer Mnookin, called on law enforcement to remove the illegal encampment. She emphasized that protesting and free speech are more than welcome on campus, but must be expressed without breaking campus laws and policies. Four protestors were detained and one police officer was hit over the head with a skateboard. The protesters returned the next day, reestablishing the illegal encampment.

Anti-semitism has been rampant on college campuses around the country as pro-Hamas/pro-Palestine protests increase. Violence and vandalism have also occurred. Some of the worst examples have taken place at UCLA and Columbia University, where university leadership has failed to take control of the situations. Yeshiva University, a private Jewish university in New York City, extended its transfer deadline and is experiencing a 53% increase in transfers this year due to Jewish students feeling unsafe at their current campuses as these unruly mobs have been allowed to carry on unfettered.

Free speech is the bedrock of any free society. And today that is especially true on campuses. In 2023, certain UW System faculty members and concerned citizens came together to design a free speech survey for UW System students. More than 10,500 students completed the survey, which found that almost 65% of students who identified as conservative felt "pressured by an instructor to agree with a specific political or ideological view in class." This is why this past session Assembly Republicans championed the Campus Free Speech bill which would have enhanced protections for free speech on campus.

I thanked Chancellor Mnookin for enforcing campus policies. I hope she will continue on that course and that our other campuses will follow her lead to avoid damage and intimidation of Jewish students on our campuses.

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