Columbia welcomes Mahmoud the Mad, but bans the founder of the Minutemen.
Because after all, it wouldn’t do for a university to welcome a hostage-taking, Holocaust-denying, international law-violating, genocide-advocating anti-Semite.
Oh – they ARE welcoming that one.
President Ahmadinejad of Iran has accepted an invitation to speak at Columbia University on Monday afternoon at a forum sponsored by the university's School of International and Public Affairs, a spokesman for the university said last night.
The Iranian Mission to the United Nations requested the invitation through a professor in the Middle East department, Richard Bulliet, who is a specialist on Iran.
"Opportunities to hear, challenge, and learn from controversial speakers of different views are central to the education and training of students for citizenship in a shrinking and dangerous world," the dean of SIPA, John Coatsworth, said in a statement. Mr. Coastworth invited Mr. Ahmadinejad to kick off a series of lectures and events about Iran, he said in a statement. The president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, is scheduled to introduce Mr. Ahmadinejad on Monday to an audience that will be made up exclusively of Columbia students, faculty, and a few invited guests.
Mr. Ahmadinejad was invited by SIPA to speak at Columbia last fall, but Mr. Bollinger revoked the invitation on the grounds that he could not ensure that the program would reflect the academic values of the university. In his talk on Monday, Mr. Ahmadinejad will field questions from the audience and from Mr. Bollinger on his government, as well as his views on Israel and the Holocaust. Mr. Ahmadinejad has stated in the past that Israel should be "wiped off the map" and that the Holocaust did not happen.
But on the other hand, it is not in keeping with the values of Columbia to allow an American who loves America to speak after he was driven from the stage by criminals for advocating the defense of American borders and the enforcement of American law.
Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project who was forced off a Columbia University stage last year, will not be coming back for a return engagement at the school.
The Columbia Political Union, a nonpartisan student group that had been planning the forum, said in a statement on its Web site Tuesday that "it has become clear that this event cannot take the form we had originally hoped it would and could not effectively accomplish the goals we had hoped it might."
Last Oct. 4, Gilchrist had to cut short his talk at the school after students from the Chicano Caucus and other groups climbed on stage with banners denouncing the Minutemen Project, which is based in Laguna Hills, Calif., and advocates action to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.
If Columbia were truly committed to freedom and the free presentation of ideas, Bollinger would be introducing Gilchrist at an officially hosted university forum, and Mahmoud the Mad would be driven from campus by outraged students.
As Columbia welcomes Ahmadinejad to campus, Columbia students who want to serve their country cannot enroll in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at Columbia. Columbia students who want to enroll in ROTC must travel to other universities to fulfill their obligations. ROTC has been banned from the Columbia campus since 1969. In 2003, a majority of polled Columbia students supported reinstating ROTC on campus. But in 2005, when the Columbia faculty senate debated the issue, President Bollinger joined the opponents in defeating the effort to invite ROTC back on campus.
So got that -- there is no place at Columbia for patriots -- but terrorists and other enemies of America are more than welcome.
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