Are campus protesters jeopardizing their employment futures?

Are campus protesters jeopardizing their employment futures?

To the extent that there is such a thing as a “normal” academic year, this past one has been anything but. Across the country, student protests against the ongoing war in Gaza have consumed college campuses, prompting counter-protests, police action, and external reactions from across the ideological spectrum. Throughout it all, the focus has largely been on the campuses themselves: how the schools have responded to these once-in-a-generation actions and the potential effects on the coming presidential election. 

As graduation season looms, however, college protesters are now facing threats from some of the legal and business world’s most powerful figures who claim that by joining their campus demonstrations, many outgoing students have ruined their chances of post-collegiate employment. Recently a group of 13 conservative federal judges declared that, having “lost confidence in Columbia as an institution of higher education” after the Gaza protests there, they would no longer hire anyone who “joins the Columbia University community — whether as undergraduates or law students —  beginning with the entering class of 2024.” The statement comes seven months after “several CEOs announced a similar boycott against Harvard students” who belonged to groups that solely blamed Israel for the Oct. 7 massacre, Axios said. Are these nascent blacklists a real threat to graduating students, or simply political posturing from a limited set of elite employers? 

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