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Voters Demand Crackdown On Pro-Palestinian Protests: Expulsions And Financial Penalties To Restore Order To US Campuses, Daily Mail Poll Shows

Americans demand strict measures against pro-Palestine campus protestors, favoring expulsions and financial penalties.

Graduate students walk out of commencement in protest against the war in Gaza at the DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium on May 11, 2024 in Austin, Texas. Amid nationwide tension on college campuses over the war between Israel and Hamas, students continue protesting and calling for universities to divest from Israel. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Editor's note: This story by James Reinl, based on the Poll, appeared on the DailyMail website.

Americans seek tough action against the pro-Palestine protestors who have roiled college campuses, with large numbers calling for expulsions and financial penalties, new polling shows.

Six-in-ten respondents said students should be kicked out for making anti-Semitic comments; and nearly half said anti-Israel protestors should lose out on student loan forgiveness schemes.

The survey of 1,435 adults shows a hardening of attitudes to protestors who've erected tents and smashed windows to decry Israel's assault on Hamas in Gaza.

It comes after police cleared a pro-Palestinian tent camp at the University of Chicago on Tuesday, and as clashes continued across the US and increasingly spread to Europe.

Many demonstrators want their schools to divest from firms that do business with Israel or otherwise help the war effort.

Others just want to highlight mass Palestinian deaths in Gaza and for the war to end.

Still, others go further, by attacking and harassing Jewish students.

In one notable example, Columbia University' Khymani James was banned from campus last month after videos emerged of the student saying Zionists 'don't deserve to live.'

The protests have raised tough questions about the limits of free speech on campus, when criticizing Israel becomes anti-Semitism, and whether Jewish and conservative students can safely attend classes.

The clashes come as officials try a range of strategies, from appeasement to threats of disciplinary action, to resolve the protests and clear the way for graduation ceremonies.

At MIT, protesters had a Monday afternoon deadline to voluntarily leave or face suspension.

Dozens of demonstrators remained at the encampment on Monday night, listening to speakers and chanting before taking a pizza break.

At the Rhode Island School of Design, where students started occupying a building Monday, a spokesperson said the school affirms students' rights to peaceful protest and laid plans for talks with demonstrators.

Officials at New York City's Columbia University, where the protest movement began about three weeks ago, on Monday canceled its large main graduation ceremony. 

Students could celebrate at a series of smaller, school-based events, they said.

The survey shows a hardening of attitudes to protestors who have erected tents and smashed windows to decry Israel's assault

Columbia had already canceled in-person classes. More than 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had camped out on Columbia's green or occupied an academic building were arrested in recent weeks.

Harvard University's interim president, Alan Garber, warned students that those in an encampment in Harvard Yard could face 'involuntary leave.'

They would not be allowed on campus, could lose their student housing and might not be able to take exams.

At the University of California, San Diego, police cleared an encampment and arrested more than 64 people, including 40 students.

The University of California, Los Angeles, moved classes online for the week because of disruptions after the dismantling of an encampment last week that resulted in 44 reported arrests.

Similar encampments sprouted up elsewhere, leading universities to struggle with where to draw the line between allowing free expression while maintaining safe and inclusive campuses.

Our survey suggests that, for the public, college officials should not spare the rod.

Fully 58 percent said students who made anti-Semitic protests should be expelled.

Another 25 percent said they should not be kicked off their courses, and 17 percent said they were not sure.

Older respondents, men, white people and Republicans were more in favor of expulsions, the poll showed.

There was also widespread support for barring student protestors from loan forgiveness schemes.

Fully 45 percent of respondents said protestors should lose out on debt relief programs, compared to 34 percent who said they should not.

Another 21 percent said they were not sure.

Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton this week introduced a bill to stop student rioters from having loans forgiven.

It would apply to those convicted of such an offense.

'It's innately un-American for taxpayers to be paying off their federal student loan debts when they have caused chaos and committed crimes on college campuses because they support Hamas terrorists,' Cruz said.

But the Biden administration's education chief Miguel Cardona, a Democrat, refused to commit to any such plan.

For many, however, the troubles on campuses are the result of a liberal that's reshaped America's colleges in recent decades.

Pro-Palestinian encampments have spread at campuses across the US, but are more common at those on the coasts. Credit:

Fully 60 percent of respondents said rampant antisemitism was a sign that schools had 'become overly woke,' while 21 percent said it was not.

Another 19 percent said they were not sure.

Public anger over the protests has been at times directed to the leaders of elite schools.

Claudine Gay and Liz Magill, the former presidents of Harvard University the University of Pennsylvania, resigned late last year amid outrage of their failures to condemn antisemitism at a congressional hearing.

The survey has a +/-2.7 percent error margin. It was carried out earlier this month by TIPP, which has been noted for the accuracy of its polls.

The student protests are now spreading to Europe, where they are gaining momentum.

Police arrested about 125 activists Tuesday as they broke up a camp at the University of Amsterdam, and German police dismantled an occupation at Berlin's Free University.

Students also have held protests or set up encampments in Finland, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, and Britain.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched an assault on Gaza that'as killed more than 34,500 Palestinians, about two-thirds of them women and children, says the territory's Health Ministry.

Israeli strikes have devastated the enclave and displaced most of its inhabitants.

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