With regard to the JT’s “What about Self-Defense” (June 9), many of our colleges have become bastions of radicalism. Students and faculty who do not actively support the radicalism du jour are intimidated into silence. Faculty members may be in danger of being forced out by outrageous student demands, which are endorsed by many like-minded faculty. I am not indicting any college in particular but rather am presenting a generic view of a national problem.
We see this in campus blitzkriegs of anti-Zionism, occasionally spilling over into anti-Semitism. When a student mob shouts down or drives pro-Israel speakers off the stage, it is accepted as academic freedom. Many Jews intellectualize away this behavior and retreat from reality, and that is interpreted as lack of support for Jewish students. The recommendation for Jewish college students to learn self-defense is a great idea whose time has come and has become a necessity in the current climate. In the meantime, students might consider going in pairs or groups on campus, if they feel the need. It also appears that there are no safe spaces for Jewish students on campus.
You can fight back. Stop donating to schools where violent radicalism is the rage. Tell alumni that you are not donating and why and recommend that they do the same. Persuade your children to go to other colleges. Complain to your representatives in the state and federal governments. Many of these schools are funded by your tax dollars. Call for the removal of administrators who fail to take appropriate actions to protect all students and faculty. Stop donating to foundations that support these colleges. Vote for candidates who champion freedom of speech on campus. Write letters to your local news- papers and let people know how students and faculty are being intimidated into silence.
Jewish students should file complaints with college authorities whenever anti-Semitic incidents occur so there is a paper trail for future incidents. They can also inform Jewish watchdog organizations, as well as local Jewish federations, about anti-Semitic events. Colleges should be compelled to disclose how much money is being allocated to student organizations. Are Jewish student organizations being denied funding or short-changed?
Everyone on campus has rights. Colleges are not sovereign states with diplomatic immunity. If colleges cannot guarantee the safety of their students and faculty, law enforcement should step in. If rampaging students break the law, they should be charged. If colleges violate the rights of students and faculty, they should be held accountable and face punitive actions. We need to return our colleges to a more civilized state of affairs, where everyone on campus is free to express their views without fear of retribution and where those who seek to limit that freedom should be stopped.