Calls grow louder to reconsider funding for colleges amid continuing protests, campus unrest

Calls grow louder to reconsider funding for colleges amid continuing protests, campus unrest

Calls grow louder to reconsider funding for colleges amid continuing protests, campus unrest

A U.S. House member has joined calls to cut funding for colleges and universities that are ceding control of their campuses to pro-Hamas demonstrations.

House Speaker Mike Johnson first threatened the schools' federal dollars last week during his visit to Columbia University in New York, the epicenter of protests that have spread nationwide. The BBC reports protests on 47 U.S. college campuses as well as campuses in Australia, Canada, France, Italy and Britian.

The primary demand from the protestors appears to be calls for the universities to "divest" from Israel and Israel's interests – in other words, to cease all spending that could support the Jewish nation.

The protests haven't been peaceful. Columbia protestors broke into a campus building early Monday and continue to occupy it. Jewish students across the country report feeling unsafe on their campuses.

A week ago, Johnson called on Columbia president Minouche Shafik to resign if she could not regain control of the campus. He also suggested it was time to bring in the National Guard to help. Neither has occurred.

In the same visit, the House Speaker threatened Columbia and other campuses with what they seem to hold most dearly: cash flow. "If these campuses cannot get control of this problem, they do not deserve taxpayer dollars," Johnson said, adding that Republicans will work on legislation to address the situation.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan) says Johnson is on the mark.

Walberg, Rep. Tim (R-Michigan) Walberg

"I think [removing funds is] the only tool that we have that might get their attention …. We can't get them in other ways," Walberg shared on Washington Watch Monday. "We've had presidents of universities in front of our committee, starting with three of the most egregious examples initially that went on with M.I.T. and with Penn.

"Now we have Columbia that comes into perspective," the GOP lawmaker stated. "There's a total lack of leadership there, unwilling to follow the rules from the get-go. Now we have it escalating all across the country."

The protests are threatening the in-person graduations for many students. Southern Cal has already cancelled its traditional "main state" graduation. In its place, the school has offered up more than 20 smaller-scale graduation ceremonies and smaller departmental receptions. These events will require tickets and specific points of entry, school officials said.

Students call out lack of security

Two Columbia students, appearing on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, described lax security on campus, where non-students have infiltrated the campus to mix with anti-Israel protestors.

Jessica Schwalb, a journalism student, posted to her X account video of protestors using a hammer to smash glass windowpanes in a door to gain access to a campus building. She described to Fox & Friends the mob's intimidation of a Jewish student.

"[It was] almost like a scene from 'The Shining,'" Schwalb said. "And I also saw a student who was trying to prevent them from barricading the doors and then he was essentially corralled by [a] human chain of pro-Palestinian protesters and basically lifted up and shoved out and called a Zionist. He was physically assaulted – and again, there's utter silence from public safety, from NYPD. So, we feel alone on this campus."

Walberg took sides with that student, noting that not all the demonstrators are students.

"Now, if these ruffians and these instigators – many of whom are coming from outside the campus and pulling students in – have their way, these students won't have commencements. And more importantly, they're not having education," he argued.

"So, why put federal dollars behind education programs that aren't educating our students, but rather are propagandizing them to be not only anti-Israel and anti-Semitic but anti-American as well? That's a danger – and that's something that can't be allowed under First Amendment liberties," Walberg told show host Tony Perkins.

America's enemies taking advantage

Walberg believes those instigators are being organized and funded by America's enemies.

"We know that there's propaganda that's coming in from Russia, from China, and certainly from Iran. When Iran says that Israel is the little Satan, and the United States is the big Satan, and both should be wiped off the face of this Earth, we ought to believe them that they will do what is necessary to break us down.

"If they could break down America from the inside, what a great victory that would be," he said.