University of Pennsylvania President, Liz Magill, resigned on Friday, after receiving much backlash for her disturbing congressional testimony last week, concerning the antisemitism on her campus. When asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) if the calls for genocide against the Jews would violate the school’s code of conduct on bullying and harassment, President Magill said that it would be "context-dependent", and then added, unless “the speech turns into conduct.”
Harvard President Claudine Gay, who also testified in front of Congress, responded to the question in a similar manner, saying it would depend on the "context" and if it “targets specific individuals”. MIT President Sally Kornbluth also explained that calls for genocide of the Jews would constitute harassment, only if the calls were "targeting individuals, not making public statements." What these three geniuses fail to realize is that when you call for the killing of an entire race of people, you are, in fact, targeting individuals – every individual of that race is targeted.
It is amazing how these three women, who most likely faced a certain level of discrimination in their lives and careers due to their gender, were so unwilling to take a stand on their campuses and in the congressional hearing against the most wicked form discrimination there is, genocide. What they displayed in congress last week, is one of the main reasons why racism and sexism have persisted for so long in this world – people in power unwilling to risk their careers to stand up for what is right. Instead of clearly stating that calls for genocide were wrong and evil, they equivocated because they thought the factions calling for genocide were powerful enough to get them fired, so they vacillated. In short, they were cowards.
After being heavily criticized for their testimonies and wealthy donors pulling millions of dollars of donations from their universities, these three presidents release statements condemning calls for genocide against the Jewish community. But it was only at that point when they became unequivocal on the issue. It was only when their universities began losing millions of dollars and they feared for their jobs that they took a strong stance against genocide.
Liz Magill was subsequently forced to resign after the university received a letter from Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, telling the university that he was pulling his $100 million donation because of Magill’s testimony in front of Congress. His letter said, "Mr. Stevens and Stone Ridge are appalled by the University's stance on antisemitism on campus. Its permissive approach to hate speech calling for violence against Jews and laissez faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students would violate any policies of rules that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on religion."
Magill tried to qualify her congressional statements when she said, "There was a moment at yesterday's hearing on anti-Semitism when I was asked if the call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies. In that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable." But universities across America, including hers, have made it a practice to punish speech.
For years, American college campuses have not stood up for free speech. They believed it is more important for universities to create safe spaces in order to protect students from opinions that do not like than to protect free speech. Universities have allowed the shutting down of conservative speakers on campus like Charlie Kirk, Ann Coulter and Riley Gaines. They have punished students and professors who have used the wrong pronouns. White male students have been silenced in classrooms because they have too much “privilege”. These universities have argued that that it is only government that is bound to protect the First Amendment and not private institutions. But now those same institutions are hiding behind the First Amendment to protect antisemites and their calls for genocide against the Jews.
University of Pennsylvania was embroiled in another controversy a few years ago, when it allowed a man pretending to be a woman to compete on the women’s swim team. The most troubling part of the entire controversy was that the university silenced members of the women’s swim team from criticizing the university’s policy of allowing men to compete against women. This is one case where the hypocrisy is the bigger crime. If you are a First Amendment absolutist, and apply that to all speech, then you can defend the right of people’s speech even if it is detestable speech such as the calling for genocide. But at Penn, students were not allowed to publicly question why a 6’ 1” man was swimming against 5’ 4” women and shattering women’s swimming records, but they are now allowed to call for the murder of all Jews.
The university was more concerned with protecting the freedom of speech of antisemites than protecting the freedom of speech of a woman athlete who just got her place on the team taken from her by a male. So, if you are willing to censor and even punish speech on your campus, but choose not to censor or punish calls for genocide of the Jews that reveals your entire world view.
This hypocrisy exposes that these people don’t really care about the issues they claim to care about. They don’t actually believe in protecting vulnerable people nor do they believe that “words are violence” like you’ve heard for the last five years. All of those issues are just manufactured controversies to weaponize in order to gain more and more power. That’s it. If three presidents of elite universities cannot stand before Congress, and state unequivocally that the people on their campuses who were calling for the genocide of the Jews were violating their codes of conduct, then they absolutely have no codes of conduct.
This issue reveals the crux of the problem with the woke ideology. Everything is passed through the filter of identity politics. Because it was people of color on their campus who were calling for the genocide of the Jews, these three university presidents had to make a decision. Do they stand up against genocide or do they stand up against students of color? If it were a group of white students who were calling for the genocide of the Jews, all three university presidents not only would have denounced that speech in front of Congress, they would have already expelled the white students. This is the problem when you have different sets of standards based on identity.
So, all the years of the left posturing against racism and discrimination was never about protecting the people who are victims of discrimination or racism; it was always about promoting their woke identity politics which at times leads them to defend calls for genocide. And that is why we must stop filtering everything through the lens of race or gender or identity, and start seeing things for what they really are, right or wrong.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.