The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to all 26 Republican governors to see whether they would consider cutting higher education funding after widespread campus protests supporting Hamas and terrorism, but only six responded to inquiries and none committed to restricting funds.
The DCNF asked every GOP governor if their “state would consider cutting funding or otherwise punishing universities that fail to properly sanction students or professors who call for or justify violence against Jews.” The offices of Republican Govs. Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Bill Lee of Tennessee, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Greg Abbott of Texas and Kim Reynolds of Iowa were the only ones to respond to the inquiry.
These governors would not commit to cutting funding, though Reeves and Youngkin criticized students who expressed support for Hamas while Reynolds and Abbott gave statements reaffirming their support for Israel and spokespeople for DeWine and Lee directed the DCNF to their states’ definitions of antisemitism, which could be enforced to combat antisemitism on Ohio and Tennessee campuses.
“There is absolutely no place on our college campuses for those who would justify and defend the merciless and horrific acts of terrorism that we saw committed by Hamas,” Reeves told the DCNF.
“We pray for Israel,” he continued, “and we will absolutely take all appropriate actions to ensure that terrorist sympathizers are kept off our campuses.”
Students for Justice in Palestine held demonstrations at public universities in Virginia, Georgia, Ohio and Indiana, each of which has a Republican governor. National Students for Justice in Palestine published a “toolkit” for its college chapters that called the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance,” describing them as a “necessary struggle against an occupying and colonial state.”
A flyer template provided by the organization includes a person on a paraglider, which Hamas militants used to cross Israel’s border and murder civilians.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb was silent on whether or not he would cut funding to universities that fail to punish students and faculty who promote violence against Jews.
A spokesperson for DeWine referred the DCNF to Ohio executive order 2022-06D, which adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism when determining if students or faculty violated anti-discrimination policies at public universities. The IHRA’s definition includes “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination … by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor” and comparing Israel to the Nazis.
One sign held by a protester at a demonstration organized by Ohio State University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine read “#netanyahuishitler,” according to footage from a local news station. Laila Shaikh, president of the University of Cincinnati chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, said that “oppressed people have the right to resist their oppressors” in reference to Hamas’ terrorist attacks at a similar demonstration, WCPO 9 Cincinnati reported.
Lee took a similar approach to DeWine. “I was proud to join others around the nation in adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism to ensure zero-tolerance and appropriate punishments for harassment and discrimination in Tennessee’s educational institutions,” the governor told the DCNF.
A spokesperson for Youngkin referred the DCNF to an interview the governor did with Fox News Radio where he condemned campus activists who released statements praising Hamas.
“Iowa stands in solidarity with Israel following the horrific terrorist attack by Iran-backed Hamas,” Reynolds told the DCNF. “Israel has every right to defend its people and country and they have our unwavering support.”
College students in Georgia, another state with a Republican governor, held protests organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, according to the University of Georgia’s school paper. Demonstrators sported signs that said “resistance is justified” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Houston, another public university in a state with a Republican governor, announced a rally the day after the Oct. 7 terror attacks inviting people to join them in “honoring our martyrs and the struggle of our people against colonialism.”
“It is our duty to echo the calls for liberation of our homeland and our people, from the river to the sea,” the announcement continues, “long live Palestine, long live the resistance, victory is ours!”
“Governor Abbott condemns heinous acts of violence and inhumanity against Israel and its people by ruthless terrorists, and we stand ready to offer our complete support to the Israeli and Jewish communities,” a spokesperson for Abbott said in a statement to the DCNF.
“Texas will always stand with Israel and our Jewish neighbors here at home and across the world,” the spokesperson continued. The governor’s office did not comment on university funding.
Governors have broad power over their states’ budgets, which include funding for public universities. Governors often propose budgets to their legislatures and have the power to veto budgets, sometimes even with line-item vetoes.
“These students are sick,” Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the DCNF.
“They are supporting terrorists who engaged in mass murder, beheaded infants, shot children in front of their parents, engaged in systematic rape, kidnapped and took hostages, all as part of an openly genocidal campaign,” the senator continued.
“No doubt many of these students are simply horribly educated, but it is just as clear that some simply support these evils.”
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