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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Elite Protests

A number of posts have discussed the politics of protestThe anti-Israel protests have flopped with the general public, and the data below suggest a reason.

Marc Novicoff and Robert Kelchen at The Washington Monthly;

We at the Washington Monthly tried to get to the bottom of this question: Have pro-Palestinian protests taken place disproportionately at elite colleges, where few students come from lower-income families? 

The answer is a resounding yes. 

Using data from Harvard’s Crowd Counting Consortium and news reports of encampments, we matched information on every institution of higher education that has had pro-Palestinian protest activity (starting when the war broke out in October until early May) to the colleges in our 2023 college rankings. Of the 1,421 public and private nonprofit colleges that we ranked, 318 have had protests and 123 have had encampments.

 By matching that data to percentages of students at each campus who receive Pell Grants (which are awarded to students from moderate- and low-income families), we came to an unsurprising conclusion: Pro-Palestinian protests have been rare at colleges with high percentages of Pell students. Encampments at such colleges have been rarer still. A few outliers exist, such as Cal State Los Angeles, the City College of New York, and Rutgers University–Newark. But in the vast majority of cases, campuses that educate students mostly from working-class backgrounds have not had any protest activity. For example, at the 78 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) on the Monthly’s list, 64 percent of the students, on average, receive Pell Grants. Yet according to our data, none of those institutions have had encampments and only nine have had protests, a significantly lower rate than non-HBCU schools. 


At private colleges, protests have been rare, encampments have been rarer, and both have taken place almost exclusively at schools where poorer students are scarce and the listed tuition and fees are exorbitantly high.