Thursday, September 20, 2007
Lee Bollinger Should Invite Jim Gilchrist to Speak at Columbia University
President Ahmadinejad is to speak at Columbia University. However, last year a riot of left wing student-bigots prevented Jim Gilchrist from speaking at Columbia University. Columbia failed to protect Mr. Gilchrist. Although I would not object to Mr. Ahmadinejad's speaking at any university,* Lee Bollinger and Columbia have failed to provide an even playing field or a forum that supports academic freedom. I have sent the following e-mail to Mr. Bollinger:
Dear President Bollinger: I just received an e-mail, an excerpt of which is below, which notes that while Columbia has invited Mr. Ahmadinejad it has suppressed a presentation by Jim Gilchrist. I am sure that you have not personally encouraged this, but you have through inaction permitted one-sided free speech for the left, and “politically correct” suppression of those who support US interests and freedom. I urge you to do a better job, not of stopping Ahmadinejad from speaking, but of creating a public impression on all ideological sides that you are truly encouraging academic freedom rather than a suppressive left wing ideology.
Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D., ‘91
>”University President Nicholas Murray Butler, who invited Nazi ambassador Hans Luther to campus in December 1933, insisting, against student protests, that Luther "'represented the government of a friendly people,' and therefore was 'entitled to be received . . . with the greatest courtesy and respect.'"
Butler was Columbia U pres from 1902-1945. If they could, they would have had Hitler on campus in 1933, and Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. They just rejected an invitation for the return engagement of Jim Gilchrist and now they are inviting Ahmadinejad. Bollinger made a statement and is going to ask him some tough questions. Really? Columbia has just hit bottom.”
*My beloved wife, Freda, debated this point with me after two martinis at the Bear Restaurant in Woodstock, NY. She may have a point that inviting a holocaust denier like Ahmadinejad to a university is a bit over the top. But I do think that even the fringe views of despicable bigots and holocaust deniers like Mr. Ahmadinejad should not be suppressed but rather refuted.