If a student from one of Pennslvania’s elite universities knocked on your door and asked for a donation to help pay for their tuition, would you drop a buck in their cup? Or would you slam the door in the face of what we’ve seen on our college campuses in the wake of the murderous Hamas terror attack on Israel? Just days after the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust, and Keystone State college students are attacking Israel? Defending the Palestinians?
The only donation I’d want to give is a free kick to the seat of their pants.
But it doesn’t matter because we are all kicking in to help cover the bills. That’s the plan from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s board of governors that oversees Pennsylvania’s 10 state-owned universities. It voted last week to send Gov. Josh Shapiro a budget request of $623.7 million for the upcoming year, an increase of 6.5 percent. Recently, Penn State submitted a request of $483.4 million for next year, an increase of $120.1 million or a 33 percent.
Obviously, plenty of college students don’t share the insanity we’ve seen from UPenn President Liz Magill. Her embrace of antisemites like Roger Waters onto the campus just days before the Hamas attack and her equivocating response has inspired a massive backlash from the alumni community.
Even more problematic for Magill is that Penn has had arguably the greatest number of donors withdrawing the most financial support from any university or college. Penn gets hundreds of millions of dollars a year in federal funding, and presidential candidate Nikki Haley has called for the withdrawal of federal funding for colleges that don’t strongly oppose antisemitism.
In this environment, horrified taxpayers are being asked to pony up even more for higher education in Pennsylvania?
And it’s not just the Hamas story. Our colleges have been on the attack against common-sense Pennsylvania values for years.
Penn State recently had an incident involving Riley Gaines, former University of Florida swimmer and champion of keeping biological men from competing in women’s sports. Gaines was prevented from speaking in a classroom on Penn State’s campus. State Sen. Chis Dush, who represents the district where Penn State is located, witnessed the harassment Gaines faced and told me that he would hold hearings on incidents like this at Penn State and that there could be funding repercussions for the school.
So, in matters like the Gaines incident at Penn State or law firms or other businesses saying they wouldn’t hire students at places like Harvard that signed a document blaming Israel for the attacks by Hamas, I’ve been challenged by some who say withholding funding or blocking students from jobs is just cancel culture.
I asked Allan Dershowitz, Harvard professor and champion of the First Amendment, about this. He told me Harvard would not allow a Ku Klux Klansman on campus, and these Harvard students were endorsing the same kind of hatred. He also said a business has every right to not hire someone endorsing the Nazi-like atrocities committed by Hamas.
The most disturbing part of all this to me personally was the stance of LaSalle University, my alma mater. The school is run by the Christian Brothers, and its Oct. 9 statement conflated the savage attacks by Hamas with Israel’s attempts at self-defense. It said, “Over the weekend, the world witnessed the sudden violence taking place throughout Israel and Gaza. The reports, images, and videos we are seeing in the news and social media are disturbing and anguishing.”
In addition, the LaSalle University Muslim Student Association, on its Instagram account, channeled the student statement at Harvard University and said, “We, the signed student organizations on this letter, hold the Israeli government accountable for the ongoing violence occurring.” They went on to say, “The events occurring are not isolated; for the past two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in open-air prisons. Israeli authorities have threatened to escalate the conflict, resulting in casualties in Gaza. In the days ahead, Palestinians will face the brunt of Israel’s aggression, and the blame solely lies with the apartheid regime.”
Even more outrageous to me, this statement was endorsed by the LaSalle University Student Government Association, the LaSalle University Ambassadors, the Residential Student Association, and even the Powerlifting Club endorsed it. It all raises the question about what is being taught at LaSalle. The university should be clear that the actions of Hamas cannot be justified and link this to the Catholic fabric of the university.
This attack on Israel has outed once again that many colleges and universities are well-funded indoctrination bubbles, and any public or private dollars they get must be scrutinized.