Commentary

Students Get Reality Check After Trying To Oust College President over Pro-Israel Program

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It wasn’t equivalent to “inmates running the asylum,” but what students tried doing to Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver left a lot to be desired.

The Student Senate of the school — a liberal arts institution located in Claremont, California — drafted a resolution that called for Oliver to step down after he chose to maintain the college’s Israel-based study abroad program, according to the Claremont Independent.

However, the measure lost by a 20-12 vote, the Independent reported.

Evidently, many Pitzer students think the overseas initiative — organized via the University of Haifa — is somehow steeped in Islamophobia.

The idea stems from the claim that “Israel restricts access to students of Palestinian descent and commits human rights violations,” Campus Reform reported.

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That’s the current norm and mindset among liberals and progressives, who don’t see their own hypocrisy on the subject.

As Oliver himself pointed out, according to the Claremont Independent, if the study abroad program were eliminated or curtailed in Israel, it would “foolishly alienate Jewish and non-Jewish constituents.”

On Twitter, Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel group Stand With Us, expressed her support of President Oliver and Israel — as did The Jewish Journal’s Aaron Bandler.

Conversely, one of Oliver’s detractors was so excited about the prospect of Pitzer cutting its study abroad program to Israel that she felt the need to keep tweeting to herself — creating a social media echo chamber.

In turn, she came across as the poster child for anti-Semitic millennials.

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Moments later, however, she tweeted within the same thread with a self-imposed reality check of the situation: “The President of Pitzer College, Melvin L. Oliver, has AUTHORITATIVELY OVERTURNED THIS motion barely hours after the vote (67-28) to suspend the program. This is infuriating, it is condescending, it is gravely un-democratic, and we need to take action.”

It didn’t quite work out her way.

Members of Pitzer’s faculty and student body who drew up the resolution learned a valuable lesson without being in a classroom: You can’t always get what you want.

By all means, we have the right to protest, boycott and call for somebody to lose his or her job — but those actions assure nothing.

Do you agree with the Pitzer president's decision to keep the Israel-based study program?

No matter how much those backing the anti-Oliver resolution try to muddy the waters, it boils down to a simple fact of life:

Just because you’re upset or frustrated about something doesn’t mean it will stop or disappear. Just because you disagree with others doesn’t mean you will get them fired or force them to resign.

All too often, college students are under the impression that signing a petition, drafting a resolution or igniting an uprising automatically means they will get their way.

Here’s to Melvin Oliver for having the backbone to stand his ground and validate his support for Israel in the bargain.

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James Luksic has been a writer and editor for a panoply of publications and websites for 30 years.
James Luksic has been a writer and editor for a panoply of publications, corporations and websites -- including Montecito Journal, Dayton Daily News and Lexis-Nexis -- for 30 years.




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