Pro-Palestinian Protests Erupt at U.S. College Commencements

Jaxon Wildwood

Updated Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 6:16 AM CDT

Pro-Palestinian Protests Erupt at U.S. College Commencements

As caps and gowns fluttered in celebration, a wave of pro-Palestinian protests swept across U.S. college commencements, bringing political tensions to the forefront of academic ceremonies. From Virginia Commonwealth University to the University of California, Berkeley, students and family members expressed their solidarity with Palestinians through walkouts, silent demonstrations, and the waving of flags, facing a mix of reactions from onlookers and authorities alike.

At Virginia Commonwealth University, the awarding of an honorary doctorate to Governor Glenn Youngkin was overshadowed by the footsteps of approximately 100 dissenters, who chose to exit during his speech in protest against his education policies and to voice support for the Palestinian cause. Similarly, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's graduation was marked by a silent protest, as graduates adorned in their academic regalia held high the Palestinian flag, a gesture that followed a two-week encampment and a promise from the university for dialogue and support for scholars affected by conflicts.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill saw a more visceral display, with the splattering of red paint and chants disrupting the air of celebration. In Austin, Texas, a lone student's stage appearance with the Palestinian flag was cut short by security, illustrating the contentious nature of these demonstrations.

While some protests, such as at UC Berkeley, were met with relocation rather than confrontation, the San Francisco Chronicle reported an undercurrent of frustration among some attendees. Annie Ramos, a parent of a UC Berkeley graduate, voiced her discontent, reflecting a division of opinion that has permeated campuses nationwide.

The dissent has not been without consequence, as police actions, including the dismantling of encampments and the use of tear gas, have led to nearly 2,900 arrests across 57 colleges and universities since April 18. The crackdown on these demonstrations has drawn criticism and concern, with former President Donald Trump labeling the protesters as "radical-left lunatics" and advocating for aggressive police measures to "reclaim campuses."

Trump's condemnation has sparked a debate over the handling of dissent, with President Joe Biden recognizing the right to protest while stressing the need for order, especially in light of his administration's support for Israel. The campus unrest presents a complex political challenge for Biden ahead of elections, with a USA Today/Suffolk University poll revealing a split among his supporters, some of whom share the protesters' demands but not their tactics.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the same poll shows that a vast majority of Trump supporters oppose the college protests. Trump's targeting of the demonstrations aligns with conservative media narratives and may be a calculated move to sway undecided voters, as suggested by David Paleologos of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.

Historically, political figures have gained from attacking student movements, with NYU Professor Robert Cohen warning that such hostility can fuel more intense protests. As the U.S. witnesses over 2,500 arrests related to college demonstrations, this wave of activism mirrors global unrest, with parallel movements emerging in Europe, the UK, Lebanon, and India.

The political and social landscape of the U.S. remains charged as student activism clashes with political agendas, leaving the nation to grapple with the delicate balance between freedom of expression and the maintenance of order amidst a backdrop of global solidarity and dissent.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the liberal indoctrination factories we call universities have become hotbeds for anti-American sentiment and leftist propaganda. These so-called "pro-Palestinian" protests are nothing more than thinly-veiled attacks on our cherished values and the rule of law. The audacity of these students, disrespecting a commencement ceremony – a time-honored tradition meant to celebrate achievement and unity – with their divisive and radical ideologies is appalling. It's clear that these protesters, emboldened by the radical-left lunatics and their enablers in the Democratic Party, have no respect for authority or the rights of their fellow students and families who simply wanted to enjoy their special day. And let's not forget the media's role in all this, painting these agitators as heroes while law enforcement, tasked with maintaining order, are demonized for doing their jobs. This is the result of years of liberal brainwashing and the coddling of young minds, pushing an anti-Israel agenda that undermines our nation's principles and our allies. It's high time we put an end to this madness and restore respect for our institutions and the rule of law.

Liberal Bias:

Once again, we are witnessing the silencing of voices crying out for justice on college campuses across the nation. These brave students, standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people, are being met with heavy-handed tactics by authorities, echoing the authoritarian impulses of the conservative establishment that seeks to quash any form of dissent. The fact that these peaceful demonstrations are being disrupted – with security personnel dragging away students merely for expressing their support for human rights – is a chilling reminder of the lengths to which the right-wing will go to suppress free speech that doesn't align with their oppressive worldview. The conservative media and their puppet leaders, like the former President, have the gall to label these passionate advocates for peace as "radical-left lunatics," revealing their own xenophobic and anti-democratic tendencies. This is the real threat to our nation – not the students who courageously use their commencement to make a stand, but the conservative zealots who would rather defend an apartheid state than acknowledge the legitimate grievances of the oppressed. It's time for the Biden administration and all who believe in justice to take a firm stand against these draconian responses and support the right of our youth to fight for a better and more equitable world.

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