As anti-Israel protests have erupted across academia, many student activists want to have their cake and eat it too. They’re erecting illegal tent cities and occupying academic halls but want to be treated like hotel guests, even while guarding their anonymity by wearing masks and keffiyehs. In recruiting radical professors who beat the drum for Marxism all day long, administrations have created entitled activists hellbent on destruction. 

At New York University’s walkout recently, a faculty member reprimanded me after I chatted with a couple freshmen about why they were rallying. “The mama bear in me is on high alert,” the professor warned. I explained that the students consented to the interview and didn’t have to reveal their identities if they were uncomfortable. As shown in this instance, faculty coddle their students but still insist they offer important contributions to the political discourse. 

As children are prone to do, protesters at various campuses dreamed up elaborate forts from which they could play cops and robbers and other games. Footage from Columbia showed the protesters melodramatically retrieving supplies from their comrades from under a campus gate. At UCLA, protesters requested specific comforts, including headlamps, EpiPens, and “hot food for lunch!” but expressly no bagels or bananas. Formidable revolutionaries, until someone accidentally eats gluten. 

A female protester’s social media tour of the Columbia encampment revealed an arts and crafts area, a makeshift library stocked with comic books, a live band, and a flea market donating proceeds to the Palestinian cause. A narrator informs the listener that “Students in this encampment are agents of their own learning, their time, and their engagement with the world around them”.

Continuing their charade, protesters at UCLA, or the “People’s University” as they rebranded it, fenced off a library with checkpoints so that students couldn’t enter unless they showed wristbands proving their allegiance to the Palestinian cause. While they’re gatekeeping their exclusive club and filming content like they’re influencers at a music festival, they’re also cosplaying as freedom fighters, flying the Hezbollah flag, and yelling slogans that deny Israel’s right to exist. 

“Unfortunately, being Gen Z means dealing with repeated states of the world that are in absolute hostility and turmoil,” one senior at Columbia told the New York Times

If this was the best spokesperson the Times could find, it indicates that their movement is both narcissistic and historically ignorant. Like other footage circulated online has shown, many students are clueless about the geopolitical conflict they’re protesting. They are just useful idiots for terrorism.

Of course, their positions come from parroting their professors, who are themselves enabling the chaos. At Columbia, professors in safety vests protected students in the illegal encampment by forming a human wall. The same thing happened at NYU. Last week, Princeton professor Max Weiss gleefully announced the student and professor takeover of Clio academic hall. 

These actions have consequences well beyond college grounds. Violent protests like those seen at UCLA have prompted worried administrators to shut down usual academic proceedings, stealing college milestones from the same class intake that lost their high school graduation to Covid. The University of Southern California’s decision to cancel its graduation ceremony in anticipation of more unrest is unlikely to be an unfortunate outlier.  

The dreadful example of Columbia, which tolerated its encampment for weeks, might explain why university administrators feel so jittery. After police made hundreds of arrests just to have the occupation pop back up again, Columbia gave an ultimatum to evacuate or face suspension. After ignoring the deadline, the protesters escalated the situation by moving into Hamilton Hall, forcing out staff members, vandalising property, and barricading themselves inside. 

With a building besieged, Columbia finally called in an NYPD crackdown. Police in riot gear pulled students out and took many others into custody, charging for burglary, criminal mischief, trespassing, and disorderly conduct. Students who took over Hamilton Hall faced expulsion. 

Though they insist they’re mature adults with bargaining power, students got into the collective fetal position once they were held to account for their lawlessness. After the NYPD response, Columbia law students claimed they were so traumatised that they could not function. They demanded the school cancel finals because of their distress. 

“The violence we witnessed last night has irrevocably shaken many of us…,” the editors of the Columbia Law Review wrote. “…The events of last night left us, and many of our peers, unable to focus and highly emotional during this tumultuous time.”

These students were told by Left-wing professors and activist groups to act in a drama, but they don’t know the underlying plot. While they deserve the appropriate disciplinary action for crimes they committed, we can’t ignore that these students are spoiled pawns. Modern universities are daycares for radicals. It’s high time we treat the students as the toddlers they’re determined to act as.