Sunday, December 10, 2023

How Were the Universities Lost?

 By Victor Davis Hanson |

AP Photo/Michael Casey

After October 7, the public was shocked at what they saw and heard on America's campuses.

Americans knew previously they were intolerant, leftwing, and increasingly non-meritocratic.

But immediately after October 7 -- and even before the response of the Israeli Defense Forces -- the sheer student delight on news of the mass murdering of Israeli victims seemed akin more to 1930s Germany than contemporary America.

Indeed, not a day goes by when a university professor or student group has not spouted antisemitic hatred. Often, they threaten and attack Jewish students, or engage in mass demonstrations calling for the extinction of Israel.

Why and how did purportedly enlightened universities become incubators of such primordial hatred?

After the George Floyd riots in 2020, reparatory admissions -- the effort to admit diverse students beyond their numbers in the general population -- increased.

Elite universities like Stanford and Yale boasted that their so-called "white" incoming student numbers had plunged to between 20 and 40 percent, despite whites making up 68-70% of the general population.

The abolition of the SAT requirement, and often the comparative ranking of high school grade point averages, have ended the ancient and time-proven idea of meritocracy. Brilliant high school transcripts and test scores no longer warrant admissions to so-called elite schools.

One result was that the number of Jews has nosedived from 20-30% of Ivy League student bodies during the 1970s and 1980s to 10-15%.

Jewish students are also currently stereotyped as "white" and "privileged" -- and thus considered as fair game on campus.

At the same time, the number of foreign students, especially from the oil-rich Middle East, has soared on campuses. Most are subsidized by their homeland governments. They pay the full, non-discounted tuition rates to cash-hungry universities.

Huge numbers of students have entered universities, who would not have been admitted by the very standards universities until recently claimed were vital to ensure their own competitiveness and prestige.

Consequently, they are no longer the guarantors of topflight undergraduates and professionals from their graduate programs.

Faculty are faced with new lose/lose/lose choices of either diminishing their course requirements, or inflating their grades, or facing charges by Diversity/Equity/Inclusion commissars of systematic bias in their grading -- or all three combined.

The net result is that there are now thousands of students from abroad, especially from the Middle East, far fewer Jewish students, and student bodies who demand radical changes in faculty standards and course work to accommodate their unease with past standards of expected student achievement.

And, presto, an epidemic of antisemitism naturally followed.

In such a vacuum, advocacy "-studies" classes proliferated, along with faculty to teach them.

"Gender, Black, Latino, feminist, Asian, Queer, trans, peace, environmental, and green"-studies courses demand far less from students, and arbitrarily select some as "oppressed" and others as "oppressors." The former "victims" are then given a blank check to engage in racist and antisemitic behavior without consequences.

Proving to be politically correct in these deductive gut-courses rather than pressed to express oneself coherently, inductively, and analytically from a repertoire of fact-based knowledge explains why the public witnesses faculty and students who are simultaneously both arrogant and ignorant.

At some universities "blacklists" circulate warning "marginalized" students which professors they should avoid who still cling to supposedly outdated standards regarding exam-taking, deadlines, and absences.

All these radical changes explain the current spectacle of angry students citing grievances, and poorly educated graduates who have had little course work in traditional history, literature, philosophy, logic, or the traditional sciences.

Universities and students have plenty of money to continue the weaponization of the university, given their enormous tax-free endowment income. Nearly $2-trillion in government-subsidized student loans are issued without accountability or reasonable demands that they be repaid in timely fashion.

Exceptions and exemptions are the bible of terrified and careerist administrators.
Faced with an epidemic of antisemitism, university administrators now claim they can do little to curb the hatred. But privately they know should the targets of similar hatred be instead Blacks, gays, Latinos, or women, then they would expel the haters in a nanosecond.

What is the ultimate result of once elite campuses giving 70-80% of their students As, becoming hotbeds of dangerous antisemitism, and watered-down curricula that cannot turn out educated students?

The Ivy league and their kindred so-called elite campuses may soon go the way of Disney and Bud Light.

They think such a crash in their reputations is impossible given centuries of accustomed stature.

But the erosion is already occurring -- and accelerating.

At the present rate, a Stanford law degree, a Harvard political science major, or a Yale social science BA will soon scare off employers and the general public at large.

These certificates will signify not proof of humility, knowledge, and decency, but rather undeserved self-importance, vacuousness, and fanaticism -- and all to be avoided rather than courted.



UPenn Loses a $100 Million Donation Over Its President's Kill All the Jews Trip-Up

By Matt Vespa |

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill is learning that free speech has a cost. She, along with Claudine Gay and Sally Kornbluth, the presidents of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively, testified before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) asked all three women if calls for Jewish genocide constituted harassment. All three ladies gave waffled answers that were both cold and insipid to the more significant issue of the antisemitism facing Jewish students amid the war in Gaza.

All three presidents said such actions must be placed into context. Yes, people chanting and clamoring for the wholesale murder of Jews must be placed under an academic light because these philosopher queens think we’re too stupid to recognize the neo-Nazi jargon with an Islamic face. Well, that pitiful hearing has cost UPenn $100 million (via Axios): 

A University of Pennsylvania donor is withdrawing a gift worth around $100 million to protest the school's response to antisemitism on campus. 

The big picture: The final straw for Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, was Tuesday's widely criticized congressional testimony by Penn president Liz Magill. 

Details: The gift from Stevens, a Penn undergrad alum, was given in December 2017 to help establish a center for innovation in finance. 

It was in the form of limited partnership units in Stone Ridge, with the current value estimated at around $100 million. 

Stevens, in a letter from his lawyers to Penn, alleges that the school has violated the terms of the limited partnership agreement, including its anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. 

Referring to Penn, Stevens writes: "Its permissive approach to hate speech caling for violence against Jews and laissez faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students would violate any policies of rules that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on religion, including those of Stone Ridge." 

 No one is canceling Magill. She can remain oblivious to the neo-Jihadist takeover of her school and not care one bit about the Jewish students who are being targeted by far-left activist groups who adore Hamas. Ms. Magill can continue to be exceptionally dense about whether someone telling a specific ethnic, religious, or racial group that they should be wiped off the face of the Earth is harassment. This is America; she has the right to defend and hold horrific opinions that enable genocide. But it will cost you. America puts up a fight and one that liberals don’t have the mental toughness to endure. A differing opinion is so offensive that they must weaponize institutions to attack and silence their opposition. In this case, it’s allowing lefty students to stage soft pogroms against Jewish students because of...context, right?


UPenn President Liz Magill steps down after controversial testimony on antisemitism

By Chris Pandolfo and Adam Sabes| FOXBusiness

Liz Magill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, during a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. Lawmakers on the education committee will grill the leaders of Harvard University, (Photographer: Haiyun Jiang/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Magill faced major backlash after her testimony during a congressional hearing

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill has resigned Saturday after widespread public outrage over her testimony to Congress on antisemitism. 

The announcement came after days of intense pressure from Penn alumni and elected officials following Magill's botched Capitol Hill testimony earlier in the week. After refusing, along with the presidents of Harvard and MIT, to unequivocally condemn calls for genocide of Jews, Magill reportedly faced the likelihood the school's board of trustees would fire her as soon as Sunday.

"I write to share that President Liz Magill has voluntarily tendered her resignation as President of the University of Pennsylvania. She will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law," Board of Trustees Chairman Scott L. Bok wrote in a statement.

Bok said that Magill agreed to stay on until an interim president is appointed.

"It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution. It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions," Magill wrote in a statement.

Magill resigned days after major donor Ross Stevens rescinded a $100 million gift to the school in protest of the college's handling of antisemitism on campus and her leadership. The board of Penn's Wharton business school also asked Magill to resign and the university's board of trustees held an emergency meeting Thursday as the school faced backlash over her comments.

Both Stevens and the Wharton board pointed to Magill's disastrous Congressional testimony in statements explaining the reasons for their respective actions. 

Magill will keep her position as a tenured faculty member at the university's law school.

At issue were remarks Magill made before the House Education and Workforce Committee this week in which she refused to outright say that antisemitic chants and calls for the genocide of Jewish people violate the school's code of conduct.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., asked Magill if "calling for the genocide of Jews violate[s] Penn’s rules or code of conduct? Yes or no?"

"If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment. Yes," Magill responded, later adding "It is a context-dependent decision."

"This is unacceptable. Ms. Magill," a stunned Stefanik responded. "I’m gonna give you one more opportunity for the world to see your answer. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s code of conduct when it comes to bullying and harassment? Yes or no?" she asked again.

It can be harassment," the University of Pennsylvania president replied.

Those comments set off a firestorm of scathing condemnations of the university and extracted clarifying remarks from Magill posted on X a day later.

"There was a moment during yesterday's congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies. In that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which says that speech alone is not punishable," Magill said. "I was not focused on, but I should have been, on the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate."