President Biden gave a speech late this morning in which he implored the denizens of the campus pro-Hamas tent cities to behave themselves.

“Violent protest is not protected,” the president said, “peaceful protest is. It’s against the law when violence occurs. Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations—none of this is a peaceful protest. Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest.”

The speech was notable for its lack of coddling. Were you raised in a barn?, the president seemed to be asking. What it lacked, however, was an appropriate sense of disgust at the supposed adults in the room, the college faculty and administrators. Every day it becomes clearer just how much they have failed everyone to whom they had any obligation whatsoever.

A UCLA protester holding a press conference yesterday was asked about the tentifada’s goal of forcing the university to divest from conceivably Israel-related companies. She responded that divestment is only the beginning: “Given that the University of California is founded on colonialism, it’s inherently a violent institution.” And all this violence, she believes, is the fault of the Jews. Therefore, “it’s a divestment from Zionism” itself that she wants, whatever that means.

Where might a student have learned such concepts? Well, at UCLA, it’s hard to pin down: The school offers 82 courses dealing with colonialism, including a Jewish Studies graduate course on colonialism and Zionism. If you’re interested in decolonization, as this student seems to be, you might have taken one of UCLA’s introduction to Western civilization or contemporary history courses, or perhaps several of its world history and Middle East-related courses, which cover decolonization. You can even learn about decolonization in ecology class. Just between those two concepts, you’ve got a hundred courses to choose from. Yesterday a photo circulated of a Columbia student holding a sign asking why the school would have them read Edward Said’s works if administrators didn’t want them putting the lessons into practice. Good question!

Brown University meekly caved to its anti-Semitic agitators and agreed to hold a divestment vote. Nobody, however, caved quite like Northwestern University. Although the divestment demands weren’t met, the school made sure to reward occupiers’ behavior with promises to “support visiting Palestinian faculty and students at risk (funding two faculty per year for two years; and providing full cost of attendance for five Palestinian undergraduates to attend Northwestern for the duration of their undergraduate careers). The University commits to fundraise to sustain this program beyond this current commitment.” Northwestern also agreed to fund housing for Muslim students from the Middle East and North Africa and to tell prospective employers not to discriminate in their hiring against Hamasnik groupies.

The key lesson Northwestern seems to have wanted to impart on its rulebreaking students was that they should repeat this behavior at Northwestern and beyond. The capitulation was so embarrassingly desperate it was almost funny, but a joint letter from the Anti-Defamation League, the Brandeis Center, and StandWithUs struck the correct tone: “For days, protesters openly mocked and violated Northwestern’s codes of conduct and policies by erecting an encampment in which they fanned the flames of antisemitism and wreaked havoc on the entire university community. Their goal was not to find peace, but to make Jewish students feel unsafe on campus. Rather than hold them accountable — as he pledged he would — President Schill gave them a seat at the table and normalized their hatred against Jewish students. It is clear from President Schill’s actions that he is unfit to lead Northwestern and must resign.”

As National Review notes, this was the students’ reward for depicting Schill as a devil-horned, blood-dripping Jew. NR’s Zach Kessel adds that not only did the university fail to consult its anti-Semitism task force, which saw mass resignations in response, but its attempt to placate the radicals may not even be legal. “Even if they eventually paper the Palestinian scholarship in such a way that it purports to be something else, the fact that this is how they announced it will be very strong evidence of the intent behind the program,” the Manhattan Institute’s Dan Morenoff told Kessel. “And given that Title VI is primarily — or, as the Supreme Court has said, exclusively — a disparate-treatment statute focused on the intent of a program, it certainly looks like this is a violation.”

All of which is to say, administrators permitted and even encouraged student behavior that would likely cause the school to run afoul of civil-rights law and then offered concessions to the perpetrators that would likely run afoul of that same civil-rights law.

Meanwhile, the schools’ refusal to call in the police to clear the camps before violence escalated was inexcusable: A Student Governing Board member at Columbia threatened that “when the administration doesn’t listen to our demands and ignores the student body,” then it’s “time for an escalation.” Indeed, “escalate for Gaza” has become the rallying cry of most of the encampments. Supporters even projected those words onto a building in New York City this week.

Biden was right, then, to express his exasperation at the violence into which the pro-Hamas camps promised to descend and then descended. But the fact is, they’re doing not only what they have been taught, but what they are being taught now in response to their behavior. The president should save some of his disgust for the school administrations and faculties, which deserve far more scorn than they have received thus far.

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