Colleges Should Focus on Teaching, Not Activism


It’s increasingly uncommon for students to graduate without being influenced by the activist mentality pervading college campuses. The praise these activists receive from mainstream media only exacerbates the issue.

Case in point: A New York Times article titled “A final graduation requirement: Making sense of protest” celebrates Mariame Sissoko, president of the Student Government Association at Barnard College, for her protest on graduation day.

Defying college guidelines, Sissoko strayed from her prepared speech, stating, “To stand on this stage today is a privilege … that over 15,000 children in Gaza will never receive.”

It’s evident that Sissoko was influenced by the viral protests on the Columbia campus, affiliated with Barnard College.

As her speech concluded, a loudspeaker clarified that Sissoko had expressed “personal views, which may not reflect the views and values of Barnard College.” This indicated to the student body that while her opinion might not be collectively endorsed, there would be no repercussions for her activism. 

Eventually, someone must inform Sissoko that many children worldwide lack the privilege of or access to higher education like she does, not just those in Gaza. 

However, that wasn’t the objective of her speech as it incited chants and songs from the student body. They sang the popular protest anthem from Columbia University, “We shall not, we shall not be moved,” while boos erupted from the audience. 

The key takeaway from the 2024 graduating classes is the influx of emotionally charged activists entering the workforce, highlighting the shortcomings of educational institutions. Our colleges are producing activists rather than educated professionals. 

Few colleges achieve the true purpose of education, often focusing on creating socially indoctrinated students. Higher education should enlighten students and prepare them for adulthood and professional life. 

As a current college student, I can attest that this is a disservice. The privilege of higher education lies in the pursuit of knowledge to prepare for the future, not to cultivate activists who create unauthorized encampments on campus. 

And how much do the average students at Barnard College or Columbia University understand about the Middle Eastern conflict beyond what mainstream media portrays? Fewer than half of college students hold Hamas accountable for its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, after all.

Higher education has been infiltrated by activist ideologies, producing students with more opinions than knowledge. So, from one college student to another: Take the time to do your research before choosing a side just because it’s popular.

Anna Broussard
Anna Broussard
Staff Writer.

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