Pro-Hamas Protesters Seeking Amnesty to Protect Their Future Careers

News & Politics

Student protesters find themselves in a bit of a bind if they get arrested for their actions on campus. Hundreds of students across the country have been suspended while some have even been expelled for their actions.

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But imagine you’re a recruiter for a Fortune 500 company or a white shoes law firm. The chances of a protester overcoming his or her “youthful indiscretion” and getting hired are somewhere between slim and none.

So, many of the students who saw it as a badge of honor to spend a few hours in lockup suddenly realized their future career prospects were out the window. They either want amnesty or their records expunged to avoid the consequences of their actions.

“I mean, like, yeah I’m against Zionism and all, but Jeez! I didn’t know it would screw up the rest of my life.”

“Will they be allowed to take final exams? What about financial aid? Graduation?” asks the Associated Press.  

The kids shouldn’t fret. There are already grown-ups who are ready to come to their rescue and make all this unpleasantness go away.

What started at Columbia has turned into a nationwide showdown between students and administrators over anti-war protests and the limits of free speech. In the past 10 days, hundreds of students have been arrested, suspended, put on probation and, in rare cases, expelled from colleges including Yale University, the University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University and the University of Minnesota.

Barnard, a women’s liberal arts college at Columbia, suspended more than 50 students who were arrested April 18 and evicted them from campus housing, according to interviews with students and reporting from the Columbia Spectator campus newspaper, which obtained internal campus documents.

On Friday, Barnard announced it had reached agreements restoring campus access to “nearly all” of them. A statement from the college did not specify the number but said all students who had their suspensions lifted have agreed to follow college rules and, in some cases, were put on probation.

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What’s the point of a suspension or expulsion if the action is going to be rescinded anyway and the children will be allowed to get away with their illegal activities and hate speech?

At Barnard College, sister school of Columbia, more than 100 students and faculty protested last week demanding that the students be immediately reinstated, their suspensions lifted, and their records wiped.

For international students facing suspension, there is the added fear of losing their visas, said Radhika Sainath, an attorney with Palestine Legal, which helped a group of Columbia students file a federal civil rights complaint against the school Thursday. It accuses Columbia of not doing enough to address discrimination against Palestinian students.

“The level of punishment is not even just draconian, it feels like over-the-top callousness,” Sainath said.

It “feels” about right for anyone who’s not a hysterical crybaby. 

The concept of “civil disobedience” is foreign to these kids. If you’ve read the writings of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, the act of civil disobedience is only relevant in the context of bearing whatever punishment is given for the transgression. That way, both the concept of the rule of law (no matter how “corrupt” or wrongheaded the law might be) and calling attention to the injustice are both served. It’s a vitally important distinction that the protesters across the country are thumbing their noses at. 

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They want their right to protest without dealing with any consequences to the rule of law. For that, they should spend a few nights in jail to learn that lesson.   

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