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Universities, we used to think, were places where the smarter kids went, and where the smarter teachers taught.

We used to think that.

Now, not so much. Now, universities – including the most-admired ones, like Harvard and Columbia and McGill and U of T – are where profoundly-stupid things are happening. And where hate is running rampant.

The Times of Israel published a story about all of this a couple days ago.  A study found that the pro-Hamas, anti-Israel madness has gripped elite universities – but not the less-exclusive colleges, where kids from lower-income families go.

The study was conducted by the Washington Monthly. “Have pro-Palestinian protests taken place disproportionately at elite colleges, where few students come from lower-income families?” the study’s authors asked, then answered their own question: “The answer is a resounding yes.”

The survey focused only on U.S. universities and colleges, but is applicable in Canada, too. Because we’re not seeing so many kids screaming “from the river to the sea,” or hanging Jews in effigy at Red Deer Polytechnic or Durham College, are we?

The survey looked at 1,421 colleges, some public and some private. Only 123 had some kind of an encampment. At private colleges, they were practically non-existent.

But at the big-shot universities? At the fanciest universities, like Harvard – where, full disclosure, I attended classes at the business and law schools – the protests and rallies and encampments have been positively widespread. Said the study’s authors: “In the vast majority of cases, campuses that educate students mostly from working-class backgrounds have not had any protest activity. For example, at the 78 historically Black colleges and universities, 64 per cent of the students, on average, receive [grants for coming from lower incomes]. Yet according to our data, none of those institutions have had encampments and only nine have had protests.”

Their conclusion: “Protests are overwhelmingly an elite college phenomenon.”

Thus, what we witnessed at the University of Manitoba in recent days. A Dr. Gem Newman was asked to give the valedictory speech at U of M on May 16. The people who asked him should’ve checked out his social media first.

In his speech, Newman said that the Jewish state deliberately targets hospitals and healthcare workers. He said Israel was committing “genocide.” He said graduates should oppose “settler colonialism both at home and abroad,” “injustice” and “violence.”

Not surprisingly, a controversy immediately erupted, with U of M alumni, and others, expressing outrage about Newman’s attacks and false statements.

If anyone had bothered to review Newman’s social media, as noted, they wouldn’t have been surmised by his speech. For example, last year he expressed approval when someone posted on X that “if my kid respected Israel, I would have him tested for rabies.”

He liked another one calling Israeli “a genocidal apartheid state,” that was “engaged in ethnic cleansing.” Also one saying that Israel was not “a real country,” much in the way the Hamas Charter says it isn’t. In his own words, he has said “Israel is an apartheid state.” He has posted about the IDF being a “mass assassination factory.” And so on.

It would be comfort, small as it may be, to say that Gem Newman is the exception at our best places of learning. But he isn’t. Just this week, someone at the University of Toronto made Nazi salutes on-camera, approvingly called Hitler “a gangster” and said he should have finished exterminating Jews.  At McGill, a Jewish leader was hanged in effigy at the universities main gates. Nobody did anything.

Everywhere you look, these days, our supposedly-elite places of learning have degenerated into festering pits of hate and division. Their presidents may appear before House of Commons committees, and they may agree anti-Semitism is a problem on their campuses, but then they do precisely nothing about it.

Higher education? It is neither. It is very very low, these days, and there is nothing educational about it.

Do your kid, and yourself, a favour. Send him or her to a community college. They’re less likely to end up praising terrorists, and more likely to get a better life.

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