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An Open Letter to Northwestern University President Schill: You've Submitted to Terrorism Again, and It's Now Time to Resign

Dear President Schill:

C.S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” 

Since the October 7th massacre of 1,200 Israeli civilians, you haven’t done anything right, whether people have been watching or not. You allowed Pro-Hamas students and faculty to demonstrate violently, choosing to protect these mobs’ “freedom of expression” over the safety of your Jewish students. Despite the pleas from Hillel, Jewish faculty, the surrounding community, Jewish advocacy groups, and terrified students themselves, you remained silent. Then you spoke, but only internally, and your paltry message was leaked:

“I am not planning to put out a statement officially stating a University position,” you wrote. “...I understand that when I put out an official statement on a political matter, an atrocity, a catastrophe, people read it not as the views of Mike Schill, but as President Michael Schill speaking for the University. As such, the decision to exercise speech takes on different meaning. We are a University which celebrates free expression, diversity of people and diversity of viewpoints.”

That message hasn’t aged well. 

While you were busy enabling Students For Justice In Palestine—who do not advocate for anything other than the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews—antisemitism has soared across college campuses and has metastasized on yours. 

Columbia University has become America’s epicenter of unchecked anti-Jewish racist extremism, an example that shouldn’t be emulated. Yet here you are, allowing illegal encampments on Deering Meadow of masked students, faculty, and outside agitators chanting vile and violent words like, “Go back to Poland!” (a reference to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau), “Long Live the Intifada!” (a reference to the First and Second Intifadas during which 1,500 Israeli civilians were murdered by Palestinian terrorists), and “From the River to The Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!” (Hamas’ goal of ethnically cleansing all Jews from Israel). Your pathetic interim addendum to the Student Code to prohibit tents and the use of bullhorns was so ineffective and laughable that the encampment only swelled with more bad actors. 

And now comes the announcement that Northwestern University has reached an agreement with a group of students and faculty who represented the majority of the protesters. 

What the fuck? 

This isn’t the NFL draft. You’re not trading for picks or positions. You’re making a deal with the perpetrators of hate speech and violence, a dangerous contingent that needs to be shown the door and not appeased. 

The University’s statement reads in part:

“This agreement was forged by the hard work of students and faculty working closely with members of the administration to help ensure that the violence and escalation we have seen elsewhere does not happen here at Northwestern.”

It's already happening.

“This agreement also addresses our commitment to protect the safety of our entire community and to ensure the ongoing academic operations of our campus while adhering to our support for free expression. The agreement includes support for our Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students. Some of the actions have been discussed for years and some are new. Together, they will strengthen our community.”

Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students always deserve support, but they are not the ones being targeted, and you know it. Jews are and this conflation is intentional and only serves to dilute the horrifying experience of the real victims here. 

This “agreement” is divided into three parts—Free Speech, Investments, and Inclusivity—and makes your statement back in October sound a little less stupid:

“The University will permit peaceful demonstrations on Deering Meadow through the end of spring quarter classes (June 1) provided all such activity immediately and continuously complies with University policies.”

“Any devices used to project or amplify sound must be approved in advance. The University commits to considering these requests in good faith.”

“The University and student representatives will work to maintain safety and ensure participation in the demonstration area is limited to University community members and allows for other reserved events to occur on Deering Meadow.”

Why should we believe you? After six months of anti-Jewish demonstrating, harassing, and devaluing, we’re supposed to take your word that University and student representatives will work to maintain safety? 

President Schill, you’re full of shit. 

You’re full of shit because you allowed this monster to be created and have fed the beast. 

You’re full of shit, because nowhere in your official statement does the word “Jew” appear, and nowhere in your agreement is the word “antisemitic.”

You're full of shit, because if the Ku Klux Klan stepped foot on your campus and intimidated black students, you'd have called in the National Guard. There would be no talk of protecting free speech. Make no mistake, Students For Justice In Palestine are the KKK and the Hitler Youth of today, but since Jews are in the cross hairs, there's no cause for concern.

You’re full of shit because you say that the University will publicly condemn the doxing of any community member and will advise employers not to rescind job offers to students engaging in speech protected by the First Amendment. You would rather compromise with students who wish Jews to be sent back to the gas chambers than expose them from behind their cowardly masks. 

There are two types of University presidents, those who permit the rot of Jewish hatred on their campuses, and those who forbid it. 

There is University of Florida President Ben Sasse, who said, “The University of Florida is not a daycare, and we do not treat protesters like children — they knew the rules, they broke the rules, and they’ll face the consequences." 

And then there’s you. 

There is Washington University Chancellor Andrew Martin, who warned, “You will not do this here.”

And then there’s you. 

There are Jewish leaders who know that tikkun olam (repairing the world) must also include Jews. 

And then there’s you. 

History celebrates courageous Jews who fought antisemitism, not the kapos.

Before this past week, Northwestern University received a D on the Anti Defamation League’s Campus Report Card, which evaluates leading colleges and universities on how they are handling antisemitism. Your school has now been downgraded to an F.

It’s one thing to fail colossally while hurting no one in the process. It’s another to fail willingly at the expense of the welfare of your most vulnerable and assailed student population. 

Michael Schill, it’s time for you to resign and never step foot in an institution of higher education ever again. 


David Telisman

About the Author, David Telisman

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