TURES COLUMN: Judges Target Columbia University’s Conservatives And Jewish Students With a Boycott

Published 10:00 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Academic freedom is a hot topic on campuses.  Lately, some judges have taken it upon themselves to promote academic freedom…by enacting a boycott on all Columbia University undergraduates and law students, even those who haven’t even taken their first class at the higher education institution.

Forbes reports that more than a dozen federal judges, all nominated by former President Trump (and confirmed by the U.S. Senate) announced they will not hire Columbia University undergraduate or law students as law clerks.

In their letter to the President of Columbia, and Columbia’s Law School Dean, they claimed that the institution was “an incubator of bigotry.”  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines bigotry as “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices.”  It’s an ironic term for the judges to use.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary also defines irony as “the use of words to express something other than, and especially the opposite of the literal meaning.”

“The objective of our boycott is different—it is not to hamper academic freedom, but to restore it at Columbia University,” the judges noted.  It’s odd that they singled out Columbia, and not the 100+ other colleges where protests are taking place.

The judges wrote “Freedom of speech protects protest, not trespass, and certainly not acts or threats of violence or terrorism. Speech is not violence, and violence is not speech. Universities that are serious about academic freedom understand the difference, and they enforce the rules accordingly.”  These judges warned the boycott would affect the incoming class of 2024.

These judges are pretty busy with their workload and may have missed a few details, such as the fact that Columbia called out the police to clear their protest camps, sparking quite a backlash.

In addition, such judges may not be up on the latest evidence that shows that many of those arrested for their actions weren’t even students at Columbia University or even students.  Those entering the New York school this Fall weren’t even college students in April or May of 2024.

As Michael T. Nietzel writes in the conservative publication Forbes “Might such a boycott raise future recusal issues when — some day down the line — a Columbia Law grad represents a client before one of these judges?  Finally, do these judges actually believe there are no conservatively inclined students attending Columbia? Ah, the irony. To punish the liberals at Columbia, the judges now won’t hire any of its conservative students. That will show them.”

Writing in the conservative NewsNation, Dan Abrams argues that “hiring decisions should be based on individual students’ merits, not by association with the actions of others.”

And that’s not all.  It seems the ban by the 13 Trump-nominated judges will also punish the estimated 5,000 Jewish students at Columbia, who make up 20 percent of the campus population, data I found according to Hillel, as posted by USA Today.

A boycott against those who engaged in the destruction of property and were arrested might be more appropriate.  Punishing Columbia conservative undergraduates and Jewish students with a hiring ban, in the name of “academic freedom” shows a lack of judgment by these judges.