There need to be firings and expulsions at Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, is a cesspool of bigotry and anti-freedom sentiments. It is well past time for heads to roll among both the student body and the administrators who have allowed the situation to fester.

An event organized by Jewish students was shut down last week when protesters (or, more accurately, thugs) stormed the venue and broke down doors. Assaults, battery, and antisemitic slurs were all reported to authorities by students who attended or organized the event. UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said four reports have been filed to the police department and are being investigated, including consideration of charges for hate crimes.

That isn’t good enough, though. Berkeley is a hotbed of both antisemitism and spoiled young adults shutting down speeches they don’t like. The university even moved this event at the last minute because it could not protect attendees at the original location, only for the university to be unable to protect attendees at the new location. This is institutional rot leading to institutional failures, and a few criminal investigations aren’t going to change anything.

For starters, students who participated in storming this event should be expelled. Student groups that encouraged this thuggish behavior, including the group Bears for Palestine, which called on other students to “shut it down,” should be dissolved. The students who took part in this are antisemitic thugs depriving their fellow students of free speech and of their own safety on campus.

But the students shouldn’t be the only ones punished. Chancellor Carol Christ and Executive Vice Chancellor Benjamin Hermalin said in a statement that the behavior of the protesters “violated not only our rules, but also some of our most fundamental values.” The problem is that no one believes that. UC Berkeley is under federal investigation for “profound and deep-seated anti-Semitic discrimination,” and students have been shutting down (or attempting to shut down) speeches on campus for years.

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Back in 2017, for example, rioters started fires, smashed windows, and shot fireworks at buildings to shut down a speech by a now-irrelevant right-wing media personality, doing $100,000 worth of damage in the process. The administration has allowed this to become normal, and it shoulders an equal amount of the blame for this problem.

In a just world, multiple people within university leadership would lose their jobs over this along with the students who deserve to be expelled or suspended for their violent and antisemitic behavior. Berkeley hasn’t been just in a long time, though, which is why it has become the rotten, antisemitic, anti-free speech institution that it is seen as now.

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