Colleges Devastated By DEI Backlash Are Pushed To The Right

( — In the wake of disruptive pro-Palestinian protests across many American universities, there has been increased targeting of diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Some are concerned that colleges may be pushed away from progressive values and towards conservative ones. During the congressional hearing on Wednesday, April 17, Columbia University’s leadership answered to the accusations that they have not been protecting Jewish students from antisemitism. President Nemat Shafik directly told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that antisemitism has no place on Columbia’s campus.

On Thursday April 18, over 100 students were arrested by New York City police after University President Minouche Shafik authorized a sweep of their illegal encampment. Then, on Friday, April 19, the university began issuing suspension notices to students who had participated in the “Gaza Solidarity” occupation. Students were shocked by this and many of the staff have begun calling for Shafik’s resignation over her handling of the situation.

Columbia University is not the only place of higher learning, going back on their previous progressive policies or creating new rules that impact student activism. In February Stanford University banned overnight camping to end the feud between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli encampments. They cited extreme weather, rodents, and student safety as the reason for breaking them up. The University of Michigan has indicated that they will be drafting new policies that would allow them to punish disruptive behavior after a pro-Palestinian protest at their convocation.

There is also legislation being proposed at state levels that will affect how individual universities will be able to pursue their progressive policies in the future. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, 84 bills targeting diversity programs have been introduced since 2023. Some of these bills forbid the use of state funds for D.E.I. initiatives, while others restrict identity-based preferences for hiring or admissions. Some schools have capitulated to the new rules, while others are simply relaunching their progressive policies using new terminology and avoiding increasingly toxic terms like DEI or equity.

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