About the Myth That There Were No ‘Outside Agitators’ Influencing Campus Protests

More than 45% of protesters arrested at Columbia University and the City University of New York last week were unaffiliated with either university, according to the New York Police Department.

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All of them were just innocent young kids out for a lark and none of them ever dreamed of co-opting the protests for their own agenda, right?

That’s what leftists claim. Data from the arrests shows that about a third of those arrested were “students” over the age of 30, according to the New York Daily News. 

Mayor Eric Adams said that his belief that the protesters were influenced by “outside agitators” was based on his own “gut reaction” to what he thought was happening at the protests.

“They came back, substantiated on the Columbia grounds and other grounds that there were those that were professionals who participated in training, participated in some of the activities,” he said.

It should be noted that students participate in those workshops as well, although it might be interesting to find out who organized the training seminars and who paid for them.

Some of the students warned the administrators that outsiders were moving into the encampment at CUNY and urging students to occupy a building.

“Students inside the encampment began to warn us that outsiders among them were planning to take over a building,” City College President Vince Boudreau wrote in an email Wednesday to students and faculty.

When students briefly occupied an administrative building on the City College grounds in Harlem Tuesday night, he said, campus public safety entered it and arrested 31 protesters, none of whom were City College students. Of the 31 individuals arrested, five were affiliated with CUNY as students or employees, while at least 10 were not residents of New York State, Boudreau said.

Columbia President Minouche Shafik in a memo Wednesday also blamed “protests that have persistently mobilized outside our gates” for making many students feel “uncomfortable” and “unwelcome.”

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Leftists argue that you must have “proof” before saying that outsiders were egging on the protests. I think the burden of proof is on the protesters to show that there were no Palestinian activists who were unaffiliated with the university on hand and that they didn’t urger the students to take over buildings.

Not true, say the students.

Washington Post:

Columbia history professor Mae Ngai told Al Jazeera that protests at the university were led by students and that politicians were the outside agitators.

“They’re the outsiders trying to tell our university how to run its affairs,” she told the outlet.

Student protesters who spoke at a news conference Wednesday outside CCNY called the involvement of outside agitators a “myth.”

The outsiders were well-schooled in co-opting a mob without the mob even being aware of it. That’s the sign of professional agitators. 

It’s not just happening in New York. The University of Texas cited its own statistics to suggest that outsiders co-opted the protests.

“The University of Texas learned Tuesday that, of the 79 people arrested on our campus Monday, 45 had no affiliation with UT Austin,” the university shared in a statement Tuesday.

“These numbers validate our concern that much of the disruption on campus over the past week has been orchestrated by people from outside the University, including groups with ties to escalating protests at other universities around the country.”

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There’s no “setting the narrative” this time. The evidence, although circumstantial, points explicitly at a network of pro-Palestinian agitators who were either already in place at campuses around the country or who migrated to campuses once the opportunity presented itself.

A “myth,” indeed.

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