In The News

Real Clear: Colleges Who Prioritize Activism Surprised Students are Activists

In January 2024, Columbia student Khymani James announced on his social media that he wanted to kill Zionists. For this, he was under something less than an investigation – his campus support personnel reiterated this often – and he chalked up the whole interview, which he attended via video chat while in Greece and livestreamed for his friends back home, to bitter Jews ratting him out to administrators. James seemed to delight in humiliating the university officials who must have pulled the short straw when it came time to assign his case. Even still, they reinforced he wasn’t in trouble and that they were only trying to determine what kind of resources they could supply him.

Without prompting, James gleefully repeated his earlier contention that Zionists should die because they, like Hitler, inflict unbearable horrors upon the world. Within moments of declaring himself unrepentant for his deliberately violent speech, he argued that his own demographic profile – a multi-pronoun, queer African American – made him unsafe at Columbia. Meanwhile, he adroitly peacocked for his livestream followers, gingerly reapplying lip gloss amid their questions to signal to school officials that he would not take seriously any of their overtures.