June 25, 2024

Student affluence appears to be a key factor in explaining where protests and encampments took place

The recent wave of Gaza campus protests have been “overwhelmingly an elite college phenomenon,” according to detailed reporting from Washington Monthly.

Using data from Harvard’s Crowd Counting Consortium and news reports, reporters from Washington Monthly looked at 1,421 public and private nonprofit colleges.

The reporters found that 318 of these colleges have had protests and 123 have had encampments, and by using data for Pell Grants (awarded to students from moderate- and low-income families) they then revealed that “pro-Palestinian protests have been rare at colleges with high percentages of Pell students.”

🇺🇸🇮🇱🇵🇸| #Harvard students protest during their graduation ceremony in solidarity with #Gaza and against #genocide. pic.twitter.com/nKJNgKVilk

— South Today (@SouthToday5) May 25, 2024

The vast majority of protests and encampments have been at “elite schools with both low acceptance rates and few Pell students.” Colleges with working-class students have, with a few exceptions like Cal State Los Angeles and City College of New York, experienced no protests or encampments.

“When you separate out private and public colleges, the difference becomes even more stark,” the report notes.

“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.”

Even at public colleges, there is a clear relationship between having fewer Pell students and have a protest or encampment.

The analysis presented by Washington Monthly clearly suggests that affluence is a key factor in explaining the incidence of protests and encampments. The reporters suggest poorer students may simply be too burdened by working part-time jobs to take part.

Other factors, such as an institution’s history of public protests and its general political orientation, are likely to play a role too, the report concludes.

The Silent Weather War On Humanity

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