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Parents Seek Tuition Refund Amidst College Protests

No safe spaces, but plenty of expensive ones.

By:  |  May 15, 2024  |    704 Words
GettyImages-2152327940 protests

(Photo by Adam J. Dewey/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The pro-Palestine college protests across the nation have caused disruption and unease. Jewish students have been told to stay home and do their work online, and protesters have taken over buildings and engaged in disturbing and often violent behavior. With graduation coming up soon, some schools have even elected to cancel the once-in-a-lifetime event. It seems that resentment over these institutions’ capitulation to a mob of demonstrators has reached a boiling point. Parents have certainly had it – and now many are demanding colleges refund their children’s tuition fees.

College Protests Angering Parents

Education doesn’t come cheap, especially when attending elite universities that cost upwards of $90,000 per year. The college protests, however, are disrupting the pricey classes, and parents are beginning to speak out. “They are not getting the education they expected and paid for,” Zev Gewurz, a Boston real estate lawyer whose daughter is a senior at Barnard College in New York City, told The Wall Street Journal. He said his daughter was supposed to deliver her final thesis last week and attend a luncheon, but the public presentation and guest lunch were canceled, along with in-person classes.

news and current events bannerLana Shami has a daughter attending the University of Southern California, where the average annual tuition is nearly $70,000. Since there won’t be a graduation ceremony, she and other family members will be flying to California and going out to dinner to celebrate. “There will be no celebration at the university where we paid an exorbitant amount of tuition for the past four years,” she told The WSJ. “It’s a huge letdown.”

Christopher Rim, founder and CEO of Command Education, told The WSJ he had received around 25 similar calls in a week from parents of students who attend the University of California, Los Angeles and Columbia University who wanted full or partial refunds from the institutions. “Physically blocking their child from attending class or a lecture hall is 100% not what they signed up for,” he said. “They are beyond upset at what’s going on.”

It Isn’t Just Parents

The Columbia Daily Spectator and New York magazine conducted a poll of 719 students, professors, and other active members of Columbia University between April 26 and May 2. Of the participants, 5% were conservative, 18% identified as moderate, 35% were leftist, and 40% were liberal. When asked if anti-Semitism is a problem at the university, 33% strongly agreed. But, when questioned on whether they felt they could express their political views on campus freely, only 8% strongly agreed. The participants were asked if the college protests had affected their academic work. Here are a few of the responses:

  • Professors are worried about speaking about the conflict due to fears of getting fired.
  • Students are policing one another and recording classes without consent.
  • As a person of color, I am scared to go to libraries knowing there are dozens of cops outside.
  • I lost my internship because I went crazy.

Since April 18, when 108 Columbia University students were arrested, the protests have only escalated. As of May 3, more than 2,200 people have been arrested on campuses in at least 22 states. The University of Southern California not only canceled the speech of its pro-Palestinian valedictorian, but it has also canceled the main commencement ceremony, claiming safety concerns.

GettyImages-2152328220 protests

(Photo by Adam J. Dewey/Anadolu via Getty Images)

“These antisemitic, anti-American radicals will seize on any opportunity to hijack the spotlight to harass and intimidate Jewish and pro-Israel students, so we expect to see disruptions at public functions, including graduations,” Liora Rez, founder and executive director of StopAntisemitism, told The Hill.

House Education Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said: “Instead of canceling graduation ceremonies out of fear of antisemitic disruptions, institutional leaders should grow a backbone and fight back against antisemitism on their campuses with decisive action and moral clarity.”

When parents and students fork over more money than most Americans make in a year, there are expectations. It seems that the rhetoric of tolerance espoused by elite educational institutions has morphed into cowardice from leadership and capitulation to the mob. With these supposed centers of excellence now failing to deliver even on providing in-person classes, parents have got to be asking themselves whether higher education is an investment worth making.

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