The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Republican politicians call to defund some U.S. colleges

Some want to end federal student aid over anti-Israel statements and protests.
Kathy Le
Ron DeSantis speaks to crowd During Mariannette Miller-Meeks Political Tailgate in Coralville, on Oct 20, 2023.

Several weeks after the start of the Israel-Hamas war, Iowa politicians and Republican presidential candidates have been steadfast in their support for Israel.

The Israel-Hamas war claimed over 3,000 lives since Oct. 7. The number of hostages remains unknown, with the Israel Defense Forces reporting between 100 and 200 missing people. 

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, called for some colleges to be defunded over anti-Israel statements, working closely with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is on the presidential campaign trail. 

“Any professor who cheers on these heinous acts of terrorism is promoting antisemitism [and] it has no place on our college campuses,” Ernst wrote in a Tweet. 

President Joe Biden visited Israel this week, where he announced $100 million in humanitarian aid to Palestinians. Days after Biden’s visit, Hamas released two American hostages. 

Meanwhile, U.S. Republicans have criticized Biden’s actions since the war began, and the conversation has moved to college campuses. 

Scott and Ernst want to ban federal student aid from colleges and universities that facilitate anti-semitic messages or events on campus with the Stop Anti-Semitism on College Campuses Act

The act comes in light of recent events at Harvard University, Columbia University, and Yale University, where student bodies remain divided over their respective college’s reactions to the war. 

Scott was one of seven candidates to attend U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ “Triple MMM Tailgate” at Streb Construction Co. on Friday, speaking more about the move to defund colleges. 

“Instead of addressing the anti-semitism on college campuses, [President Biden] does nothing,” Scott said to the crowd. “Worsening our tax dollars to supplement universities and colleges that allow for mass protests.”

Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann opened the event by condemning “support for Hamas” in Johnson County. 

“It’s here more than any other place where it’s important for us to stand up and count ourselves as conservatives,” Kaufmann said. “Did you notice that they were having a protest in favor of Hamas?”

Kaufmann was referring to a Free Palestine protest at the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest on Friday, which drew in a crowd of about 40 and wasn’t a pro-Hamas demonstration. Demonstrators at the event called for a “ceasefire” to reach a peaceful end to the war. The protest was organized by Iowans for Peace, Veterans for Peace, and Iowans for Palestine, which also demonstrated on Oct. 15

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said at a Cedar Rapids event Friday that colleges and universities should not be funded if they can’t manage hate. 

Haley said supporting Hamas can threaten someone’s life, which is attempted murder, not freedom of speech. 

“What these protests are doing, when they say ‘kill the Jews,’ when they celebrate…if a university doesn’t handle that, we pull their funding,” Haley said. “These universities have gotten a pass for too long.”

Florida Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis echoed Hailey’s comments at Mariannette Miller-Meeks tailgate later that day. DeSantis went a step further and said he would cancel the student visas of foreign students in support of Palestine.

“You see students demonstrating in our country in favor of Hamas terrorists,” DeSantis said. “Remember, some of them are foreigners.”

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About the Contributors
Grace Katzer
Grace Katzer, Politics Reporter
Grace Katzer is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications, Political Science, and a writing certificate. Previous to her position as a politics reporter, she has been a higher education news reporter at The Daily Iowan and interned with the Spencer Daily Reporter as a news reporter and Iowa Starting Line as a news media reporter.
Kathy Le, Photojournalist
Kathy Le is a fourth-year student at The University of Iowa majoring in 3D design and Art History. This is her first year working as a photojournalist of Daily Iowan.