Fri. May 24th, 2024

The Scoop on McConnell’s Take: College Heads Must Reign in Campus Fiascos

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May18,2024

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday declined to say if he would bring in the National Guard to college campuses amid the mass pro-Palestinian protests, arguing college presidents should be the “first line of defense.”

Asked on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” if he agrees with some GOP calls to bring in the National Guard, McConnell said, “Well, here’s the way I look at it. The First Amendment is important. But it doesn’t give you the ability to claim there’s a fire going on in a theater, because it threatens everyone else.”

“What needs to happen, at least at the beginning, is these university presidents need to get control of the situation, allow free speech and push back against antisemitism,” he added. “I thought that was largely gone in this country. But we’ve seen a number of young people who are actually antisemitic. Why don’t they all sit down and have a civil conversation rather than trying to dominate the talk?”

Protests over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza have continued for more than a week at a series of college campuses across the country, prompting student arrests, suspensions and a switch to hybrid learning for some.

Many of the protests have been reported to be peaceful, but concerns have been raised over the safety of students and the proliferation of antisemitic rhetoric. While the U.S. saw an uptick in antisemitism following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks against Israel, some protest groups rejected the characterizations of their recent demonstrations as antisemitic.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) last week visited Columbia University, the first school to launch a major protest, and suggested President Biden call in the National Guard to stop the demonstrations, describing them as “dangerous.”

When asked a second time if he would go to the National Guard at this point, McConnell said, “Let’s see if these university presidents can get control of the situation. They ought to be able to do that. I’d be interested in hearing the antisemitic people explain the justification for that kind of talk.”

The White House last week shut down Johnson’s and others’ calls for the National Guard, and White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre maintained the issue is not up to the president, but rather the governors.

Hundreds of students and faculty calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war and a halt in U.S. military aid to Israel have been arrested after some schools called in local and state police to disperse the protests.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “The Scoop on McConnell’s Take: College Heads Must Reign in Campus Fiascos”
  1. I strongly disagree with McConnell’s stance. College campuses should be spaces for open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas, even if they are controversial. Calling in the National Guard would only escalate tensions. It’s the responsibility of the institutions to ensure a safe environment for all students while respecting their right to express their opinions without fear of reprisal.

  2. McConnell’s statement is concerning. College presidents should indeed address campus issues, but involving the National Guard could escalate tensions. Dialogue and tolerance are key, and it’s disheartening to see antisemitism resurface. Young generations should engage in respectful discussions to bridge differences.

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