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Hamas supporters make US college campuses unsafe for these self-censoring students

Students in universities across the country are self-censoring at a time when their voices should not be silenced. I have received countless calls in the past week from students at scores of schools worried about Hamas and the fact that they cannot express their anger and sadness or even talk about Israel without worry of being attacked or canceled. 

College students are afraid to ask questions, be open ethically and intellectually to professors and peers, and take risks for fear of being labeled or attacked. The tragedy unfolding in Israel highlights the depth of just how dangerous the environment has become on college campuses in terms of both physical safety and the search for truth.

University administrators must face this simple truth: there is no middle ground when discussing the indescribable terror attacks in Israel at the hands of Hamas; Hamas engaged in unprovoked and unprecedented evil in Israel. 

People protesting for Palestinians

Supporters of Palestinians gather for a rally at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Oct. 14, 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Numerous governments, organizations and communities immediately condemned the attack, and polling data reveals the American public expresses deep sympathy for the Israeli people and broadly sees the Israeli government’s military response to Hamas’ attacks as justified. However, countless Jewish college and university students around the nation have been thrown into a state of shock and fear knowing that they cannot speak out.

There is no ambiguity surrounding Hamas’ behavior in Israel and no student should feel unsupported and afraid to speak up here. But too many students are suffering in silence. 

College and university administrators must be held accountable for the mess they made and schools must be reformed to promote open expression, freedom of inquiry and disagreement. Donors are already making significant demands and this just may be the beginning to end the wave of cancel culture that has silenced so many students.


Samuel J. Abrams is a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.


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