Hot off the trails of a highly panned Harvard student-made letter on the Hamas attacks, other universities are finding themselves under an incredibly critical lens concerning the war.
For context, FISM News previously reported on a letter penned by a group of Harvard students that placed the blame for the Hamas attacks entirely on Israel. The backlash against the students was severe, as some businesses even wanted a list of names released to avoid hiring the offending students in the future.
But Harvard also caught some flak for not responding sooner and more harshly to the anti-Semitic behavior. The venerable university lost a big donor as a result. Now, other colleges and universities are finding themselves in similar positions.
Over a dozen donors to multiple universities told the New York Times that they felt compelled to weigh in on the issue and pull back their donations. These donors were linked to the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Stanford University, and Cornell University.
In most cases, donors expressed frustration that the schools did not weigh in on the issue fast enough, especially when it came to condemning Hamas for the attack. But outright support for Hamas was also a factor in at least one case of backlash.
At Columbia University, Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History Professor Joseph Massad made a name for himself by complimenting the attack. In an article dated Oct. 8, Massad said that the “astounding” and “incredible” attacks against Israel were a “stunning victory.”
In response, students have amassed more than 34,000 signatures on a petition to have him removed.
In addition, many universities have also become a hotbed for chaotic protests on both sides of the issue. For instance, UNC-Chapel Hill became the site of dueling demonstrations on Thursday. What started as a peaceful “resistance rally” for Palestine became a tense shouting match as pro-Israeli counter-protestors arrived on the scene.
Students fought over which flag to fly during the protest, one for Palestine or one for Israel, and an Israeli professor was even pushed down some stairs. This professor spoke out after he was escorted away by officers, saying the pro-Palestine demonstrations are “sad.”
A similar site of chaos was seen on the campus of Indiana University. There, two Jewish organizations organized a gathering to support Israel when a Palestinian group announced a counter-protest at the same time.
The Indiana rally evolved into a shouting match between the two groups as police maintained a security presence to prevent violence.