- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2024

House Republicans have introduced a bill that would make public disclosure of a university’s campus protest policies a requirement for federal accreditation.

The “No Tax Dollars for College Encampments Act” would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and require universities to adhere to their own procedures and reporting requirements when responding to campus civil unrest.

“Last school year, makeshift encampments were allowed to flourish on campuses across the country, disrupting classes and intimidating Jewish students. This is unacceptable,” said Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, who co-authored the bill.

He said his legislation holds “woke universities accountable and ensures they enforce protest rules fairly and equally, not only when it fits their political agenda.”

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York, the bill’s other co-author, said she wanted to prevent “disgraceful mob riots” such as those seen at Columbia University from taking over campuses nationwide.

She said the bill is intended to ensure school leaders are enforcing policies “against hostile campus takeovers” and any university officials who fail to “stand up for our Jewish community will be held accountable.”

Mr. Banks and Ms. Stefanik are members of the House Education and Workforce Committee.

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep, Bobby Scott of Virginia, did not respond to a request for comment.

Several conservative organizations support the legislation including Heritage Action, Parents Defending Education Action and the American Principles Project.

Law enforcement authorities across the country last month shut down anti-Israel protester encampments at universities. The encampment protests started at Columbia, where students demanded the school divest from Israel and companies supporting the Jewish state.

Columbia University Apartheid Divest, a coalition of 116 different groups that supported the anti-Israel encampment, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Banks-Stefanik bill was introduced on the heels of the committee’s release of a chain of text messages from four Columbia \ administrators who mocked concerns about antisemitism on campus.

During a May 31 event titled “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present and Future,” three university administrators exchanged jokes about Jewish campus leaders exploiting antisemitism to raise money and scrutinized the experiences of Jews on campus.

The university suspended all three administrators while it investigates them.

Mr. Banks and Ms. Stefanik questioned university officials at congressional hearings from different top-tier schools about allowing antisemitic protests on their campuses in the wake of Hamas’s deadly Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

He asked Columbia President Minouche Shafik about an orientation glossary that was passed out to new students at the Columbia University School of Social Work. 

The document that had been shared with incoming students defines Ashkenormativity as “a system of oppression that favors white Jewish folx.”

Mr. Banks also sent a letter calling on State and Homeland Security departments to deport student and foreign exchange visa-holders who have supported Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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