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Congressional Representatives and University Trustees Discuss FBI’s Role in Investigating Campus Protests

Title: The Call to Investigate Campus Protests: Examining the Role of Congress and the FBI

Theme 1: Congress and the FBI’s Role in Addressing Campus Protests

During a recent call hosted by the centrist political group No Labels, Representatives Josh Gottheimer and Mike Lawler discussed the need for Congress and the FBI to take action against student protests on college campuses. The bipartisan pair expressed support for universities that called on police to quell protests and promised further investigations into the student movements. Gottheimer, who is on the House Intelligence Committee, mentioned his conversations with the FBI regarding campus protests, emphasizing the importance of following the money to uncover potential external influences on these demonstrations.

Theme 2: Efforts to Crack Down on Student Protests

House Republicans announced their plans to investigate federal funding for universities that held campus protests. House Speaker Mike Johnson, alongside the chairs of six congressional committees, highlighted the need to address these protests and their potential impact on national security. Gottheimer and Lawler have been leading congressional efforts to defend Israel amid its war on Gaza, aiming to silence criticism and protect Israel from being held accountable for its actions.

Theme 3: Concerns about Outside Agitators and Manipulation

One of the main concerns raised during the call was the involvement of outside actors in organizing and funding the protests. Bill Berkley, Chair Emeritus of New York University, suggested that a Palestine solidarity group based in New York City was leading protest efforts and called for FBI investigation. Lawler echoed these claims, stating that external groups or countries were manipulating students to create a hostile environment in the U.S. Lawler’s support for banning TikTok was also tied to concerns about external coordination of protests.

Theme 4: Balancing Free Speech and Condoning Antisemitism

University board members, such as Andrew Bursky from Washington University in St. Louis, expressed concerns about the line between free speech and condoning antisemitism. Bursky argued that universities must bring in law enforcement to maintain order when protests turn violent or involve hate speech. However, examples of physical violence by police and pro-Israel groups against protesters were not acknowledged during the call.

Insight: The Need for Objective Investigation and Protection of Free Speech

While concerns about external influences and violence during protests are valid, it is crucial to ensure that investigations are conducted objectively and without infringing on students’ right to peaceful protest. The involvement of the FBI should be based on credible evidence rather than assumptions. It is also essential to address instances of violence perpetrated by law enforcement or other groups during these protests, as they undermine the principles of free speech and peaceful assembly.

Insight: The Role of Congress in Defending Israel

Gottheimer’s and Lawler’s efforts to defend Israel raise questions about their impartiality and their commitment to protecting free speech on college campuses. Their focus on silencing criticism and expanding the definition of antisemitism may hinder open discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and limit academic freedom.

Insight: The Influence of Political Organizations

No Labels’ fundraising email following the call highlights the influence of political organizations in supporting specific members of Congress. This raises concerns about the impartiality of the discussion and the potential for partisan agendas to shape policies regarding campus protests.


The call hosted by No Labels shed light on the ongoing debate surrounding student protests on college campuses. While concerns about external influences and violence are valid, it is crucial to ensure that investigations are conducted objectively, protecting students’ right to peaceful protest and upholding the principles of free speech. Congress should prioritize a balanced approach that addresses legitimate concerns while safeguarding academic freedom and open dialogue.

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