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The Road Back to Normalcy Starts Where the Problem Began: College Campuses

  |   By Lou Dobbs Staff

Mbenzdabest, Wikimedia Commons


This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire

By Zachary Marschall
Real Clear Wire

The long-awaited return to normal has started in America.

Google swiftly fired 28 employees who occupied their boss’s office in protest against a corporate contract with Israel. Educational institutions such as Vanderbilt University and Columbia Universityhave suspended or expelled student protesters who occupied buildings and spaces illegally. Pomona College, American University, and the University of Georgia have similarly suspended student activists for causing disruptions.

American institutions are no longer willing to put up with selfish, entitled, and unrealistic direct actions. That is a good thing. The nation went crazy in 2020 and has taken four years to regrow a backbone against the tiny, vocal minority trying to upend American values and our daily lives.

The rule of law, respect for authority, tolerance of difference, and civil behavior are all core American values that higher education has thrown away and our national institutions are now scrambling to reclaim. Institutions’ experiment with placating activist intolerance is over.

These disciplinary measures are the first step in a long road back to sanity. The path will have roadblocks, and quite literally did on April 15 when protesters across the country used their bodies to blockade airports, bridges, and highways. But at least America now appears oriented in the correct direction.

The greatest evidence for this trend comes from Claire Shipman, the board of trustees co-chair at Columbia University, who testified before the House Committee on Education & the Workforce hearing on antisemitism on that campus. Shipman’s April 17 testimony made clear that universities are overrun with antisemitic protests because they have lost their ways as institutions of learning and are now incubators for anti-American revolutionaries.

Shipman’s vision for a better Columbia thoroughly rejects the prevailing attitudes in 2020 that tasked higher education to create the next generation of politically active social justice warriors. Like a butterfly shedding its cocoon that kept it ignorant of what was always there, Shipman’s attitude can serve as a roadmap for universities to restore their founding values, de-politicize their curriculum, and narrow their focus to academic rigor and excellence.

A return to basics will benefit American institutions on and off campus because these virtues are the necessary ingredients for robust liberal educations that foster intellectual curiosity, civil debate, and respect for humanity. The students occupying their campuses in pitched tents possess none of these characteristics. Their jeers, physical attacks, and calls for death project a future America devoid of our core values.

The last four years set American society and education back a generation. But hope is not lost. Some businesses and universities have found their authority to assert civility and tolerance.

Google moved past its problematic employees much faster than Netflix did in 2021 when a hoard of LGBTQ workers walked out in protest of a Dave Chapelle special. This semester, university presidents are more decisive than in November 2023, when the University of Michigan tolerated more than 200 anti-Israel student protesters who occupied an administrative building.

Yale University warned its protesters that they would face consequences for occupying campus and promptly arrested over 40 students. Columbia University is an exception to this trend. Its president, Minouche Shafik, is a deer in headlights too afraid to move against Jew-haters as the campus anti-Semites continue to occupy the Manhattan campus. The trendline resembles Yale’s actions more than Columbia’s inaction.

Swift removals and firings are good for business, whether that business is software technology or higher learning. Zero tolerance for disruptive political actions also benefits workers and students focused on learning new skills and getting ahead.

Productivity grinds to a halt when Americans cannot use their highways, airports, offices, and classrooms. Americans cannot succeed when we cannot utilize our resources to the greatest potential.

We all deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness free from those who would ruin our days to satisfy their selfish causes. But our inalienable rights will become unattainable rights if universities — which shepherd undergraduates into the real world — fail to instill the right values in students. Higher education getting its act together will pay dividends for our economy, communities, and society.

This article was originally published by RealClearEducation and made available via RealClearWire.

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