Pro-Hamas protests have plunged colleges across the nation into chaos this week, as hundreds of students continue to form unsanctioned encampments on school property.

This latest iteration of social justice-chic ignited last week at Columbia University, when students pitched tents on the South Lawn and demanded the school “divest its endowment from companies that profit from Israeli apartheid and genocide.”

Similar camp-outs have sprouted at colleges as far away as California and Texas, with at least four institutions requiring police assistance to break them up. Threats of suspension and arrest have proved futile so far, with most camps reforming after police sweeps.

Footage from these so-called “occupations” shows protesters physically and verbally abusing Jewish students. Few shy away from praising Hamas as righteous rebels — less than seven months after the terror group killed some 1,200 Israeli civilians, kidnapped 250 more and sexually assaulted hundreds of women.

There’s something deeply disturbing about watching smart, driven college students hurl slurs and taunts I’ve only ever associated with neo-Nazis. What would cause my peers to behave this way? Now, more than ever before, the answer is clear:

Their teachers.

Hundreds of Columbia faculty left class Monday to protest the arrest and suspension of those they call “peaceful protesters.” Bassam Khwaja, a lecturer at Columbia law school and supervising attorney at its human rights clinic told The Guardian:

I am shocked and appalled that the president [of Columbia] went immediately to the New York police department. It didn’t seem like any kind of measures were taken to de-escalate. It also just seems completely unnecessary. This was by all accounts a non-violent protest. It was a group of students camping out on the lawn in the middle of campus. It’s not any different from everyday life on campus.

Khawaja is wrong on both counts. Columbia’s embattled president, Minouche Shafik, said bringing in the NYPD was an “extraordinary step” made necessary by individuals who refused offers to continue the discussion in more appropriate forums.

Shafik further noted the protesters had violated “a long list” of the colleges rules and policies. A letter to Columbia’s leadership from the House of Representative’s Committee on Education and the Workforce enumerates more than twenty separate instances of antisemitism perpetrated by members of the encampment, including physical and verbal assault of Jewish student Jonathan Lederer and his friends.

But Jewish students’ plight was far from the minds of faculty who participated in Monday’s walkout. Among their demands? A reversal of all suspensions related to the protest and “an immediate rollback of University and college rules that restrict the time, place, and manner of assembly and freedom of expression.”

If hundreds of Columbia’s personnel feel comfortable leaving their jobs to defend students’ right to do whatever they want, whenever they want, is it any wonder their students are behaving so poorly?

To be fair, I suspect said educators would be less permissive if they disagreed with the students’ position. An open letter in support of Columbia’s faculty freely admits anti-Israel bias.

The document declares an “academic boycott” on Columbia until the school ends it’s “targeted repression of students involved in anti-genocide protesting.”

It further reads:

We reject as ludicrous the idea that the Columbia administration was forced to call in the NYPD because of the need to “protect students from rhetoric that amounts to harassment and discrimination.” Indeed, it is the University’s own decision to arrest, intimidate, criminalize, and punish students that has endangered their safety. If a university would rather arrest its own students than listen to their demands — if it would rather imitate the military tactics of a state that has destroyed every university in Gaza, burying students and colleagues under the rubble, than divest from it — then is it still a university?

The letter concludes in similar fashion, proudly displaying its hatred of Israel and its disdain for Jewish students. More than 1,400 academics from across the country have signed it.

Some of these radicalized teachers aren’t content to simply impose their ideology or enable students’ bad behavior — they’re modeling unacceptable methods of protest.

When NYPD officers entered New York University’s campus on Monday night to clear a disruptive encampment, they were surprised to find a group of faculty barring their way.

“Ten to fifteen faculty were lined up arm-to-arm with their hands tied together,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry told local news outlets. “It took quite some time to get them removed and placed into custody.”

Daughtry presided over the arrest of 120 NYU protesters who refused repeated warnings to vacate the area, enduring a hail of bottles, rocks and even chairs for their trouble. But the commissioner had no problem identifying the most problematic group on campus:

From my perspective, and from talking to supervisors on the scene, the faculty were the most aggressive and resistant when it came to trying to clear that plaza.

Tarik Sheppard, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, seconded Daughtry’s dismay with faculty’s conduct.

It was a shock to see the amount of faculty out there. I think parents have the expectation when they send their kids off to college that the faculty and their teachers and professors will be teaching, and not protesting. They expect that their kids are in these academic institutions learning, and [instead] the faculty are taking time to protest.

Sheppard hits on the crux of the issue. As private citizens, teachers can espouse whatever fringe ideologies they please. As teachers, however, they are charged with tremendous responsibility to educate and equip students to draw independent, reasonable conclusions about the world around them.

Educators supporting, enabling or participating in these protests have betrayed their purpose and the trust of every parent paying their salaries.

In light of these disturbing revelations, parents should be extra cautious about who they entrust with their children’s minds. Antisemites and people who excuse violent bursts of aggression aren’t good candidates.

Additional Articles and Resources

A Stunning Contrast of Two University Lawns

Jewish Students urged to Flee Columbia Following Antisemitic Protest

Campus Protests Expose Antisemitic Rot in Academia

Iran’s Failed Attack on Israel — What happened and Why It’s Important

Antisemitism — What It Is and Its Connection to the Israel-Hamas War

Women’s Rights Group Silent on Hamas Sexual Violence, Analysis Shows