As presidents of the most prestigious institutions of higher education around the country have offered wishy-washy world salads over the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, University of Florida President Ben Sasse has been a beacon of steadfast virtue in a swamp of moral defect.
Students Rally in Support of Hamas
Students such as the ones at Harvard who signed a letter claiming they “hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” following decades of occupation, and denouncing Israel as an “apartheid regime” may – strong emphasis on the word may – be given a pass.
After all, they have been spoon-fed lies and nonsense about Western civilization for decades by radical professors who put politics before their profession. It’s no surprise they are unable to discern right from wrong and good from evil in a world that, to them, is consistently subjective. Acts of unspeakable terror are, after all, justified in the face of “colonialism” and “white supremacy.”
Elite Universities’ Failure
However, the inability for university presidents to outright condemn the behavior of students on college campuses who support the attacks on Jews by Hamas and the horrific events that unfolded on October 7, is despicable.
While Claudine Gay, the President of Harvard declared, “Our university rejects the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by Hamas” her statement came only after blowback from her original milquetoast response over the issue. She also refused to criticize the actions of the signatories of the letter blaming Israel for the attacks.
Instead, she said, “Our university embraces a commitment to free expression. That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous. We do not punish or sanction people for expressing such views. But that is a far cry from endorsing them. It’s in the exercise of our freedom to speak that we reveal our characters and we reveal the character of our institution.”
Gay revealed Harvard’s character clearly. She revealed that her institution will unequivocally stand for free speech when it comes to supporting the hatred and murder of Jews, but should anyone question the validity of transgender ideology or queer theory, well, they had better just shut their mouths.
Harvard was officially named the worst school for free speech this year by The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). Maybe Gay was simply trying to boost Harvard’s rank.
Sasse Offers Moral Clarity
Contrast Gay’s presentation with Sasse’s unequivocal declaration against Hamas.
“I will not tiptoe around this simple fact: What Hamas did is evil and there is no defense for terrorism. This shouldn’t be hard.”
He continued to criticize others in his field like Gay. “Sadly, too many people in elite academia have been so weakened by their moral confusion that, when they see videos of raped women, hear of a beheaded baby, or learn of a grandmother murdered in her home, the first reaction of some is to ‘provide context’ and try to blame the raped women, beheaded baby, or the murdered grandmother.
“In other grotesque cases, they express simple support for the terrorists.”
The former senator from Nebraska provided even more moral clarity around who Hamas is and why none of their ghastly behavior can be put “in context.”
“Our educational mission here begins with the recognition and explicit acknowledgment of human dignity – the same human dignity that Hamas’ terrorists openly scorn,” Sasse said. “Every single human life matters.”
It’s sad that a discussion of university responses to world tragedies even appears on a political website. That’s what happens when educational institutions – even those at the K-12 level – stop educating and instead choose to pursue political ideology. An ideology that rejects objective truth, logic, and critical thinking and instead embraces moral relativity and the dismantling of virtue.
Thank you, Ben Sasse, for having the courage to demonstrate to the younger generation what is so often missing on today’s college campuses: a moral compass.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor and opinion writer for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.