Consequences ...or the lack thereof

Richard Koritz
Posted 5/10/24

Seldom does this column write on the same topic in successive weeks. The student protests on our college campuses begs another look.

Columbia University, which has been the lead university …

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Consequences ...or the lack thereof


Seldom does this column write on the same topic in successive weeks. The student protests on our college campuses begs another look.

Columbia University, which has been the lead university reported by the media on student protests has now cancelled its graduation ceremonies. Columbia is not alone. Many other colleges and universities have also cancelled graduation events citing security concerns.

My BA, MA and JD response is only one word: HOGWASH. These young men and women deserve and need that moment of recognition for the work they have done to earn that degree. Their parents also need that moment. Allowing a small minority of the campus to control the happenings of the vast majority of students is ethically, morally, and legally wrong.

College students are young and impressionable. They tend to stage protests. Most protests last for an hour or two and then the students disperse and go back to class or their dorms. Having been on a few college campuses I ‘ve seen a few protests. The students made their protests, but never impeded the other students who were on their way to class.  The protesters may have been an annoyance at that moment, but they were not a hindrance to the rest of the students.

The anti-Israel and pro-Hamas/Palestine protests today want to hinder and disrupt the college campus. They wish to achieve their demands by force and intimidation. The protests that were simply a part of college culture and protected by the First Amendment have morphed into bullying and mob rule. A situation that is abhorrent to American democracy.

Take a step back and look at these protests. The protestors are literally seeking to contravene and subvert our form of government. They want their choice of results, and they want it now.  They are simply too selfish to comply with our rules of government. If their ideas are so great, then the ideas should be placed into a legislative bill or a referendum and presented for a vote by all parties. That is not happening because this is a fringe element and they do not have the support of the public at large. But remember the adage of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”.  University administrators are simply giving that squeaky wheel the grease and allowing out of control protests to continue because they fear the minority, or perhaps in some cases the administrators are drinking the same Kool-Aid.

College protests are simply a part of the college experience and are lawful. College protests that evolve into curtailing the rights of other students and faculty have crossed the line and wrong by American standards of free speech and assembly. It is time that serious consequences be afforded those who offend.

On a different note, I attended Lincoln Christian University’s last graduation in Lincoln this past Saturday. It was a dignified and reverent event.  Protests were no where to be seen. The rights of all were acknowledged and accepted aby all. LCU in its final graduation should be an example for all colleges and universities on how to conduct a quality graduation ceremony.

Lastly, at a different forum in Lincoln, I was talking with an individual I have known for a few years. He said it was a great day for him. He informed me that he had just gotten a letter from the federal government that his student loan of $250,000 had just been forgiven by the federal government. He is a relatively young man and I know his wife had just passed away after a very lengthy and difficult illness. I responded that I was happy for him personally, but that I simply did not agree with the loan forgiveness program.

I certainly understand my friend’s financial plight of student loan and medical debt. However that debt forgiveness comes with all taxpayers now having to pay his debt as there simply isn’t any free money when it comes to the bottom line.