Patterico's Pontifications

5/1/2024

Columbia Is Unsalvageable

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:14 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Last night the Columbia University administration finally tired of the destructive theatrics of campus agitators (no doubt joined by malevolent forces from the outside) and put an end to the occupation of Hamilton Hall, a historic campus building which had been overrun by the pro-Hamas terrorist sympathizers yesterday morning. NYPD made 300 arrests, including 119 people inside of the captured building. Presumably the NYPD has also by now at long last cleared the tent encampment which had sprung up on Columbia grounds after the past week, immediately returning immediately after it was initially cleared thank to the fecklessness of university administrators.

Columbia’s last day of classes was this past Monday. The remainder of this week is study period, and final examinations will be given next week. Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2024 are scheduled for two weeks from today, May 15. The Columbia administration has asked NYPD to maintain a campus presence through May 17, clearly hoping to get through that annual exercise with no further embarrassment to the reputation of the 270-year-old institution formerly named for King George II. Students, faculty, and staff have been asked to stay away from campus during these contretemps, with only students who live within the campus gates and those working in on-campus research labs supposedly being allowed in. Columbia has yet to announce how this imbroglio will affect graduation and class reunions, so look for that to be a major source of angina for the administration.

We have yet to see the long-term consequences of Columbia’s cowardly acquiescence to the mob, but the school ought to be worried. Today is the deadline for students who were offered admission to next year’s freshman class to declare their intention to matriculate to Morningside Heights this coming fall. Presumably, many Columbia admits have admissions offers from other prestigious institutions of higher learning, and it’s doubtful that the events of the past couple of weeks have been to Columbia’s competitive benefit. It remains to be seen what the “yield” — the percentage of admitted students who enroll at Columbia — will be and how it will compare to previous years. It wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if Columbia finds itself approaching students it previously placed on the waitlist and offering them a slot in the Class of 2028, nor would it be out of the question that Columbia simply fails to fill all of its available slots. Once thing we can expect is that Columbia won’t be particularly forthcoming with the data if it proves to be disappointing. It’s rather poetic that Hamilton Hall, which unsurprisingly was trashed by the occupiers, is where Columbia’s Office of Admissions is located.

In a sane world, Columbia would have a serious discussion about their campus climate and would ask difficult questions about what sort of school they aspire to be. As an Ivy League school located in a staunchly left-wing urban setting, it can be expected that Columbia would have a progressive orthodoxy. Still, the events of the past couple of weeks have helped to lay bare just how dedicated to fashionable leftism the university has become. Their weak and incompetent leadership, most notably represented by their overmatched president Minouche Shafik, has proven woefully unequal to the task of running a $6.2 billion operation ostensibly dedicated to creating “a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students,” in order “to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.” Pretty much the entire university leadership ought to be immediately cashiered.

But there is a deeper rot that Columbia, and so many other American universities, will need to address. This is of course the baneful influence of a handful of faculty ideologues, who are at best second-rate intellectuals with third-rate temperaments. They poison the well with their noxious beliefs fed by various grievances, and their monomania intimidates their less-engaged colleagues who tend to react by going along to get along. As more responsible institutions of higher learning have quickly moved to prevent the crybullies from imposing their unrelenting self-importance on normal campus life, it has consistently been blighted faculty who have sought to undermine these efforts with their own egocentric interference. This is clearly a problem at Columbia, as witnessed by several faculty reaction to last night’s actions.

This history professor whined that President Shafik wasn’t supposed to involve police without having it cleared through a faculty vote. Others correctly pointed out to him that a sentence in the Columbia constitution which appears two sentences after the lines he quoted gives the president the power to immediately act in an emergency. But in the mind of a leftist, storming a campus building and holding janitorial staff hostage apparently does not constitute an emergency:

A leftist economics professor can’t help himself from condescending towards people whose jobs involve far more danger than being outed for plagiarism:

Lest you think I’m a typical crude right-winger gratuitously accusing professors of being enthralled with communism, here’s a Columbia instructor who apparently is a scholar of Marxism. Her Twitter history strongly suggests that her interest in Marx is more than academic:

There are plenty more examples of the dumb groupthink which dominates the academy these days. And you can tell it is groupthink by noting the incredible degree to which these silly ideologues incessantly retweet each other. As a bonus, allow me to include the deep thoughts of a former Columbia history professor who now makes himself a bother at Yale. Note the typically feeble invocation of “fascism,” the hallmark of a shallow mind:

If you think this is the place where I provide a policy prescription for saving Columbia (or any of these other schools), you are mistaken. I guess I am being extra-grumpy today, but I am to the point where I don’t think Columbia is worth salvaging. Better to close up shop, pink-slip all the faculty (hopefully some of the more capable support staff can find jobs elsewhere), give the students their transcripts, lock the gates, and sell the property to developers. On an NRO podcast last week, Charlie Cooke jokingly suggested that allowing protesters to carry through on their threat to burn the school to the ground would be a great idea. I’m starting to think that’s actually quite true. A wealthy left-wing institution in a huge city dominated by left-wing ideology and leadership is a recipe for disaster, especially when it’s clear that the school has no interest in moderating its crazy beliefs or mending its errant ways. The failure of a school like Columbia would be a shock to the U.S. higher education system, but it might also finally be the catalyst for the kind of reform that is so sorely needed if we are going to be the pluralistic and tolerant nation this this same system claims to aspire to facilitate.

– JVW

50 Responses to “Columbia Is Unsalvageable”

  1. Close it. Raze it. Salt the earth. Open up a giant Walmart and a TGI Friday’s on the former location. Then make good on all that land acknowledgement bullshit and give the rest back to the Lenape Indians so that they can open a casino and sell tax-free cigarettes.

    JVW (b02843)

  2. When the gates of the faculty lounge are guarded by the Leftist watchdogs of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, what do you expect? There is now an official ideology that all who teach our children must accept.

    This is no accident and it will get worse.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  3. A smart GOP politician would use this as an opportunity to promote ideological balance in colleges receiving federal funds. God knows what Trump will do.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  4. I’ll keep observing that all the ire from the “pro-Palestinian protesters” and their simpaticos is pointed at the Jews and the free Jewish-majority state, not the terrorist organization that murdered 1,200 Jews in a single day (and raped and kidnapped hundreds of other Jews) and has held near-absolute power in their sheethole territory since 2006. This is why their jihad should and must fail.

    Paul Montagu (383f45)

  5. Kevin M:
    if/when Trump becomes president again, he’ll propose most public universities be steamrolled/bulldozed.

    And it won’t be an unpopular position.

    Also, someone explain to me: why does California need *both* a UC *and* a CSU system? And I ask that as a person who nevertheless is fond of my local campus, CSU Long Beach, and its Carpenter Center.

    qdpsteve again (711764)

  6. And as for the private universities? Start taxing all of ’em at 80%, including all of their investments and endowments.
    Democrats aren’t the only ones who can use the IRS as a weapon.

    They want to live under communism? Give it to ’em good and hard.

    Same with Hollywood. If they all flee to Canada, good effing riddance.

    qdpsteve again (711764)

  7. Close it. Raze it. Salt the earth. Open up a giant Walmart and a TGI Friday’s on the former location. Then make good on all that land acknowledgement bullshit and give the rest back to the Lenape Indians so that they can open a casino and sell tax-free cigarettes.

    I just switch the TV channel.

    nk (0d1f33)

  8. Close it. Raze it. Salt the earth. Open up a giant Walmart and a TGI Friday’s on the former location. Then make good on all that land acknowledgement bullsh!t and give the rest back to the Lenape Indians so that they can open a casino and sell tax-free cigarettes.

    I just switch the TV channel.

    nk (0d1f33)

  9. why does California need *both* a UC *and* a CSU system?

    It started as elite universities and state teacher’s colleges.

    The in transformed into an elite set of universities that featured research and offered doctorates, and a more egalitarian set of colleges to increase opportunity.

    So you had Berkeley, UCLA and a few other quality regional schools, and local colleges for the aspiring children of the working class. Then some of the better state colleges joined the UC system (e.g. UCSB) and other colleges wanted to offer advanced degrees. Eventually, the state colleges became state universities and it all got muddled.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  10. if/when Trump becomes president again, he’ll propose most public universities be steamrolled/bulldozed.

    And it won’t be an unpopular position.

    He doesn’t have to do that, nor should he. Public universities (with the exception of the service academies) are state institutions and should be considered as such and left alone by Washington.

    What Trump could (and perhaps ought to) do is tell states that there will no longer be federal money for students to use to pay for public university tuition. Leave it to the states to decide how to make higher education affordable and not pass it off to Uncle Sucker. That could turn out to be appealing to 55% of our closely divided country.

    JVW (b02843)

  11. On the other hand, we might consider if it would be beneficial to both Columbia and the nation to have a dominant institution of progressive learning, located in a city that has a hyperactive press corps that’s able to provide quick coverage whenever an outrage is available to be celebrated. Such an institution could act as a magnet for the chronically disaffected and an incubator for policies and programs that ensure creative consolidation of diverse anticonservative initiatives. Finding faculty for such an institution shouldn’t be difficult – a quick review of the MSNBC guest list could be a start in the positive direction. I was going to say right direction, but the word “right” is verboten at CPU (Columbia People’s University). Degrees will be provided at the time of application and fascistic practices such as exams will no longer be tolerated. Graduates will be free to apply (and to be welcomed) to state and local government agencies in California, Haiti or South Sudan.

    John Boddie (dcf99c)

  12. JVW, that would be a great first step, at the very least.

    qdpsteve again (711764)

  13. Such an institution could act as a magnet for the chronically disaffected and an incubator for policies and programs that ensure creative consolidation of diverse anticonservative initiatives.

    I like this idea, John Boddie. Just so long as the campus gates can be locked from the outside.

    JVW (b02843)

  14. @12 JVW – Actually the gates can’t be locked, but in demonstrating solidarity with the student body, they don’t work either.

    John Boddie (dcf99c)

  15. Good enough, John Boddie. Let’s make this a reality.

    JVW (b02843)

  16. put an end to the occupation of Hamilton Hall,

    which was occupied the previous night.

    They also got rid of the tent city on the quad, or the people there.
    But they are drifting back. Others marched last night to City College approximately 20 short blocks away.

    And there was also a dormitory for juniors that was occupied:

    https://www.opb.org/article/2024/04/30/columbia-university-protesters-occupy-a-campus-building-echoing-1968

    In discussions about an ongoing protest encampment on Monday, protesters did not agree to completely deconstruct the camp site, while the school did not agree to stop doing business with Israeli companies, one of student activists’ demands. The school also began suspending students.

    Some people left the encampment around 1 a.m. Tuesday and moved into Hamilton Hall, an academic building, began moving furniture around and refused to leave until Columbia agreed to divest from Israel.

    Protesters also began climbing into open windows at John Jay Hall, a dormitory, reported WKCR, the university radio station.

    I think the main thing students are being deprived of is the library or libraries, which they may find useful for writing papers.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  17. 1. JVW (b02843) — 5/1/2024 @ 12:19 pm

    Open up a giant Walmart and a TGI Friday’s on the former location.

    I don’t think any large retailer would want to do so. It’s located near a high crime neighborhood. And the problem of massive shoplifting has not been solved. And they’ve kept Walmart out of New York City in any case.

    There’s a narrow strip of safer territory running for blocks near the west coast by the Hudson River.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  18. Paul Montagu (383f45) — 5/1/2024 @ 12:53 pm

    I’ll keep observing that all the ire from the “pro-Palestinian protesters” and their simpaticos is pointed at the Jews and the free Jewish-majority state, not the terrorist organization that murdered 1,200 Jews in a single day (and raped and kidnapped hundreds of other Jews) and has held near-absolute power in their sheethole territory since 2006. This is why their jihad should and must fail.

    They seem to asking for different things. Calling for the murder of Jews (which is what intifada means – it could mean rebellion but rebellion against whom here> But then they ask for a ceasefire. And for boycotting Israel.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  19. I don’t think any large retailer would want to do so. It’s located near a high crime neighborhood.

    Aw, Sammy, I know. But a man can dream.

    JVW (b02843)

  20. Unsalvageable to who? The multi-national corporations who have turned institutions of higher learning into job training sites for them? This is a show down between the left and the democrat party establishment. Biden vs the squad. Conservatives are bystanders like faux news who in the south may try to interject themselves where they are not wanted as both sides loathe republicans.

    asset (bf4144)

  21. @9 Trump has made it clear he would revoke student visas. Biden has made it clear he’ll pay off their student loans.

    lloyd (a8d46c)

  22. Trump has made it clear he would revoke student visas. Biden has made it clear he’ll pay off their student loans.

    lloyd (a8d46c) — 5/1/2024 @ 4:51 pm

    Trump made it clear Mexico would pay for the wall.

    norcal (3f57bd)

  23. Foreign students do not get government loans, or any other kind of government assistance, except from their own countries. They pay full tuition and costs. Cash. That’s why colleges and universities want them.

    And in South Dakota the governor will shoot their goats if they let them graze on the campus.

    nk (0d1f33)

  24. The multi-national corporations who have turned institutions of higher learning into job training sites for them?

    Not in piffle degrees like Peace Studies or Anti-Colonialism Theory. The multinational corporations aren’t going to fund that mess, but the left needs to hand out mindless diplomas in order to attract a suitably diverse class. So our broke government and some ridiculous left-wing foundations shake loose a few bucks because their voters can’t pass Organic Chemistry or Differential Equations and still have time for trendy social justice pursuits.

    JVW (b02843)

  25. @21 I’ll take Trump’s likelihood of not delivering on his promises over Biden’s likelihood of delivering on his. Any day, every day.

    lloyd (176a34)

  26. Trump made it clear Mexico would pay for the wall.

    Derp.

    BuDuh (922bdd)

  27. #23 “piffle degrees like Peace Studies”

    I know two people that have a degree in Peacebuilding.
    They did great work and the conflict is worse than ever, deeper than ever, broader than ever, because humans

    steveg (5f5564)

  28. U.C.L.A. last night anti-ceasefire demonstrators attacked a peaceful encampment of protesters throwing explosives into the encampment and beating demonstrators as police looked on approvingly. Several said they were Israeli and if it turns out Israel govt. is associated with them Gavin newsom could use rico. Another kent state is just around the corner. I have been warning this could happen for months. The left has the ability to hit back hard and biden is scared he will be blamed. Chicago convention 1968 all over again!

    asset (47ba0a)

  29. Revoke visas of foreign students who riot. Limit federally guaranteed student loans to useful majors and bar them to anyone convicted of rioting or who the federal authorities discover was arrested for assaulting a cop or occupying a building. Now who would be the one to push this? Oh, silly me: of course. Not the mean bumptious guy: This commentariat’s favorite. Haley

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (071951)

  30. @28 not if biden wants to win michigan, minnesota and wisconsin. How about the Israeli counter protesters rioters at u.c.l.a. want to revoke their visas too?

    asset (47ba0a)

  31. Limit federally guaranteed student loans to useful majors

    That’s how it started in the 50’s, but the Departments of Useless Majors complained.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  32. How about the Israeli counter protesters rioters at u.c.l.a. want to revoke their visas too?

    American Jews don’t need visas.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  33. And in South Dakota the governor will shoot their goats if they let them graze on the campus.

    Only if they’re rabid like Ol’ Yeller.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  34. The multi-national corporations who have turned institutions of higher learning into job training sites for them?

    This isn’t recent. They’ve been doing that since forever.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  35. American Jews don’t need visas.

    But asset is from a political philosophy which would happily demand to see their papers.

    JVW (b02843)

  36. In the real world, if you disrupt a place of business, there are consequences….no matter how self righteous your indignation or noble your cause. There’s certainly a tradition of protest at universities but a lot of it is silly navel gazing. Here, it’s young people only looking at one side of the ledger and throwing a tantrum. Yes, the civilian tolls in Gaza are awful; yes, another October 7th can’t happen. The U.S. only has so much leverage in a complex situation.

    Much of what is going on is a bad look….it’s emotionalism, not critical reasoning. Debate. March if you must. Vandalism and trespassing are crimes. There are consequences to committing crimes. Now there’s am education…

    AJ_Liberty (952dfe)

  37. In 1968 they ran a pig for president Pigasus. He would win today. @34 several republican legislatures passes or tried to pass papers please laws. Az. sb 1070 show us your papers.

    asset (e56bab)

  38. @1

    Close it. Raze it. Salt the earth. Open up a giant Walmart and a TGI Friday’s on the former location. Then make good on all that land acknowledgement bullshit and give the rest back to the Lenape Indians so that they can open a casino and sell tax-free cigarettes.

    JVW (b02843) — 5/1/2024 @ 12:19 pm

    I think we’re looking at this the wrong way… this here is the end result.

    How do you get there?

    We’re a litigious society, so not only the jewish students, but any other students/workers impacted by this must sue these universities to oblivion.

    Model such litigations like when car manufacturers knowingly kept quiet about design flaws in their cars that caused death, and that the bean counters justified NOT directing the company to fix the flaws because it’d be cheaper to pay any lawsuits than to fix it.

    These Universities KNOWS these protests can get out of hand, and there should be zero tolerance of these behaviors… ESPECIALLY since there are “code of conducts” published that gave notices that these behaviors are unacceptable.

    Anything less than swift enforcement should be deemed as tactic acquiescence or approval.

    In short… make the civil lawsuit hurt so much… that it depletes their foundation to the point that the universities would need to sell off assets.

    whembly (86df54)

  39. President Biden to speak live, soon. This reminds me of his repeated speeches during the collapse of the Afghanistan government in August, 2021.

    Possibly related: A new poll shows 76% in favor of the police action on college campuses; 10% opposed.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  40. The protesters are trying to achieve escape velocity – where the protests will be about nothing except themselves.

    Sammy Finkelman (c2c77e)

  41. @MODS… please release my post #37. I copied JVW’s post that I got hit with the swear filter.

    whembly (86df54)

  42. the protests will be about nothing except themselves.

    When were they not?

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  43. The Democrat convention is going to be interesting. Chicago again.

    Kevin M (a9545f)

  44. the protests will be about nothing except themselves.

    Kevin M (a9545f) — 5/2/2024 @ 10:23 am

    When were they not?

    That may be the goal, but they at first, to get started, need to have a cause and demands on the college, even if their demands don’t make much sense in relation to their cause, or are trivial.

    They achieve escape velocity when you no longer hear much about the matter they are allegedly protesting, but they become about how the police acted, or that the police were called, and about no punishment or amnesty. Or about sending in water and food. The protests then can be self-sustaining.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  45. Kevin M (a9545f) — 5/2/2024 @ 10:27 am

    The Democrat convention is going to be interesting. Chicago again.

    The main activity will be inside the convention. There will be a platform challenge. They’ll contrive the alternztive language to be something that the Administration opposes but that can get a majority of the delegates.

    That can be handled by

    A) Reporting the Ayes and Nays incorrectly (as happened once before) this time possibly followed by a disruption.

    or

    B) Preventing the matter from coming up for a vote altogether.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  46. Biden;s speech

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXLjdZbwutY

    The contrast is not between freedom of speech, and the rule of law, but between protests that express and opinion, and protests that attempt to FORCE people to go along. That’s not freedom of speech at all. It goes beyond even a sit-down strike, which is rarely legal.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  47. Mayor Eric Adams’ speech

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZV1tCZcrdU

    https://www.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/337-24/transcript-mayor-eric-adams-briefs-media-recent-protests-columbia-university-nypd

    …This is a plan that has been put in place since January 2022, when we understood our Police Department had to be prepared for uncertainties like this. The request we received in writing could not have been clearer. While those who broke into the building did include students, it was led by individuals who are not affiliated with the university.

    The school needed the NYPD’s assistance to clear Hamilton Hall and the encampments outside, a dual operation on the grounds that took place successfully, clearing the tents, taking back and reclaiming Hamilton Hall. We said from the beginning that students have a right to protest, and free speech is the cornerstone of our society. As our major concern, we knew and we saw that those who were never concerned about free speech, they were concerned about chaos.

    It was about external actors hijacking peaceful protests and influence students to escalate. There’s nothing peaceful about barricading buildings, destroying property, or dismantling security cameras. We cannot allow what should be a lawful protest to turn into a violent spectacle that saves and serves no purpose, as I said. There’s no place for acts of hate in our city. We’ve made that clear. That’s from antisemitism to Islamophobia to anti-Sikhism and other communities as an AAPI [Asian and Pacific Islander] community…This is not a celebratory moment. We should never have had to have to get here in the first place. We can’t create environments while children can be in danger, and we must push back on all attempts to radicalize our young people in this city like we’re seeing across the entire globe. [Source?Classified intelligence briefings?] … Another significant part of the video was at the end. That’s our flag folks. No, take over other buildings and put another flag up. That may be fine to other people, but it’s not to me. My uncle died defending this country, and these men and women put their lives on the line. It’s despicable that schools will allow another country flag to fly in our country. So blame me for being proud to be an American. I thank Commissioner Daughtry for putting that flag back up. We are not surrendering our way of life to anyone.

    Mayor Adams looks at that flag replacement (which took place at City University) like it was symbolizing a conquest of the United States. But “Palestine” isn’t even a country, even if, in some respects, Hamas acted and acts like it’s governing an independent country (without its own currency or even the ability to issue passports – that belongs in Ramallah]

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  48. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/02/nyregion/columbia-students-hamilton-hall.html

    For two weeks, Columbia’s campus had been the focal point of a growing crisis on college campuses around the country. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up tent encampments, held rallies and otherwise attempted to disrupt academic activities in an attempt to force universities to meet several demands.

    This is not an exercise in freedom of speech. It is an attempt to FORCE people to do something.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  49. From the Sunday New York Times: long article)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/27/us/college-protests-police-response.html

    ‘Decisions Under Fire’: Campuses Try a Mix of Tactics as Protests Grow

    Some colleges that initiated police crackdowns on pro-Palestinian protests have since taken a different tack. Others have defended the move. Hundreds have been arrested.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

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