Columbia University + Freedom of Speech

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by dbermanmd, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

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    As you all might be aware, Columbia University has invited and will be hosting the President of Iran. You all might also be aware that he was not allowed to visit Ground Zero by city officials. What you might not be aware of is that Columbia University last week DISinvited Jim Gilchrist who founded the Minuteman Project. I need someone to explain this to me.

    John McCain said, "A man who is directing the maiming and killing of American Troops should not be given an invitation to speak at an American University".

    This is a huge PR victory for Ahmadinejad.

    Just another note here and possibly another topic for discussion but I had to get this off my chest... Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich appeared on Syrian TV and condemned the US for its "illegal occupation" of Iraq. He also praised Syrian President Assad for his human rights record. Talk about treason or at the least spitting in the face of your own country... Sad, very sad.
     
  2. Proco

    Proco Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(dbermanmd @ Sep 21 2007, 08:50 AM) [snapback]515702[/snapback]</div>
    It wasn't the University itself that rescinded Jim Gilchrist's invitation. It was the student organization that originally invited him. From NewsDay:
    To make it sound as if Columbia is inviting one and not the other is disingenuous. Columbia invited Ahmadinejad. A student group invited (& then disinvited) Jim Gilchrist.

    The University is free to invite whoever they choose to speak. But why they would willingly choose a PR nightmare is beyond me.
     
  3. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Proco @ Sep 21 2007, 09:27 AM) [snapback]515720[/snapback]</div>
    The University could also have invited Gilchrist when he was disinvited by the student organization if it truly wanted to demonstrate the freedom of speech they are standing behind by inviting ahmadinejad. That would have been very educational.
     
  4. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(dbermanmd @ Sep 21 2007, 08:47 AM) [snapback]515733[/snapback]</div>
    Yes, because freedom of speech means you have to invite everyone who has an opposing viewpoint.
     
  5. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(eagle33199 @ Sep 21 2007, 09:50 AM) [snapback]515735[/snapback]</div>
    In this setting I believe so - it is ANY universities obligation to present as many divergent points of view to its students to expose them to it and allow them to make informed choices. If the University fails to do so it fails its students and in my opinion its basic obligation to them.

    What message does Columbia send by inviting Ahmadinejad and not Gilchrist??

    And mind you, I am specifically using this example of Columbia University.
     
  6. MegansPrius

    MegansPrius GoogleMeister, AKA bongokitty

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(eagle33199 @ Sep 21 2007, 08:50 AM) [snapback]515735[/snapback]</div>
    And the university president doesn't sound like he plans to go easy on him either:

    In order to have such a University-wide forum, we have insisted that a number of conditions be met, first and foremost that President Ahmadinejad agree to divide his time evenly between delivering remarks and responding to audience questions. I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to the president on issues including:

    - the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust;
    - his public call for the destruction of the State of Israel;
    - his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;
    - Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction;
    - his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women's rights; and
    - his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia’s own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh (see President Bollinger's prior

    I would also like to invoke a major theme in the development of freedom of speech as a central value in our society. It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naiveté about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas. It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.
     
  7. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(MegansPrius @ Sep 21 2007, 10:07 AM) [snapback]515742[/snapback]</div>
    You do not know Mr Bollinger very well - a spineless wonder... In any event we will let the ultimate happanstances of the event speak for themselves. My guess is that Bollinger wimps out, and Aremineihjad spins circles around him. I dont think this will be a fair fight. Again, we will let the facts speak for themselves next week we can revisit this.
     
  8. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(MegansPrius @ 2007 09 21 07:07) [snapback]515742[/snapback]</div>
    At first glance, such an invitation seems questionable. But if the purpose is to hold his feet to the fire - figuratively - that's different.
     
  9. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(hyo silver @ Sep 21 2007, 11:00 AM) [snapback]515769[/snapback]</div>
    Not just first glance - at second and third and fourth, etc glances it looks terrible.

    I highly doubt his feet or any other portion of his body will be held to the fire. Mr. Bollinger has yet to demonstrate the presence of a spine - and this is just a slap in the face to most of America. Even NYC officials are not letting him go to Ground Zero even though there is a 25 mile range from the UN that allows characters like him to travel in. Funny how the mainstream average intelligent person understands this better than the "brilliant" highly intelligent folk at Columbia University.

    Perhaps Columbia will send over some nuclear physicists to Iran as a show of good faith and desire to increase dialog with Iran?
     
  10. Ichabod

    Ichabod Artist In Residence

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    If they literally held his feet to the fire, that might make an interesting forum as well.

    I actually think it's good for the school, the students and the U.S. at large to hear Amenijhibad try to dance around the questions he'll likely face. I don't think you need to present an opposing viewpoint for people to decide they don't like the guy.
     
  11. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Ichabod @ Sep 21 2007, 11:17 AM) [snapback]515779[/snapback]</div>
    Some made a comment about my original post here how Mr. Gilchrist was uninvited while Amenijihad was. I personally think inviting him is wrong - especially in NY City, especially while he is actively helping those who are killing our troops, especially after all the things he has said, especially while he continues his nuclear program, etc, etc. the only invitation i would give him is to JFK and an immediate return trip to Iran. Not even NYU or Yale or Harvard invited this clown.

    No need to give him a PR victory or watch him dance circles around Bollinger. No gain in any sequence of events here.
     
  12. MegansPrius

    MegansPrius GoogleMeister, AKA bongokitty

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(dbermanmd @ Sep 21 2007, 09:52 AM) [snapback]515766[/snapback]</div>
    Agreed, I don't know a thing about Bollinger. If he proves as flaccid as you suppose, hopefully, at least some of the students will grill him. And even the ADL is calling on Columbia to disinvite him. But I agree, let's revisit afterwards.
     
  13. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    While I see the concern about a PR opportunity for Amenijhibad I do not see any great danger as some seem to suggest.
    Worst case scenario is he goes home and talks about how he got to talk at a university in the US. Best case is he's held openly accountable and made to express his views. I don't know squat about Bollinger, but I think it's safe to assume there are one or two people from the University that are fairly intelligent and well informed and just may be able to challenge Amenijhibad on his views and prior comments.

    I firmly believe that this policy of refusing to speak to our enemies until they agree to our ultimatems is a bad one. That's not to say that these guys should get first hand access to the President, but public forums and meetings with ranking officials seems harmless enough to me and holds the potential for better understanding, open channels of communications and the potential for meaningful dialog that could lead to positive change. Without that there is no hope for any of that.
     
  14. dbermanmd

    dbermanmd New Member

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    Some interesting quotes from todays editorial:

    "Meanwhile: 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." Bill Kristol

    Kristol again:"In fact, the introduction with "sharp challenges" by Bollinger makes the situation even more of a disgrace. Now there will be the appearance of real dialogue, of Ahmadinejad answering challenges, which further legitimizes the notion that Holocaust denial, say, is a subject of legitimate and reasonable debate. But if Bollinger had chosen to deny Ahmadinejad's request, or not to dignify Ahmadinejad's appearance by his presence--then Bollinger would have been denied the opportunity to lecture us, in Columbia's press release, to this effect: "It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible. That such a forum could not take place on a university campus in Iran today sharpens the point of what we do here....This is America at its best."

    Hugh Hewit, "It is inconceivable that Columbia will allow this anti-Semitic blowhard a podium, or in any way add to his prestige at a time when the world is attempting to halt this gangster state's illegal acquisition of nuclear weapons. But what is truly outrageous is that Columbia does not see the deep dishonor it is doing to the men and women killed and wounded by the machinations of this man and the regime he represents. Some of those casualties of Iranian intrigue have come in Iraq just this year.

    But Ahmadinejad’s rogue state has been killing Americans for far longer than that, and using terror against us since the presidency of Jimmy Carter."

    Victor Hansen,"It is likely (a) that Ahmadinejad was one of the terrorists who took American hostages in 1979, and so helped to start the quarter-century rise of radical Islamic jihadism that blew up on September 11; and (B) that he wants to visit September 11 precisely for the purpose of boasting when back home “I am going there, because I can,†the subtext, if not the overt message, cynically to commemorate what we deserved.

    What is stranger is why Columbia university tried to invite a terrorist to speak who denies the first holocaust and advocates a second one. This is not a matter of free speech but of common decency and the most elemental common sense."
     
  15. IsrAmeriPrius

    IsrAmeriPrius Progressive Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(dbermanmd @ Sep 21 2007, 08:39 AM) [snapback]515802[/snapback]</div>
    Care to identify the publication?
     
  16. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    Berman, your hypocrisy is horrible. On one hand, you stand up and yell about people's freedom of speech being violated in the taser incident, and here when someone is uninvited to an event. Yet at the same time, you're very strongly against allowing individuals you've labeled as "our enemy" the freedom to express their views to American citizens in an open, regulated forum such as this.

    FWIW, i think it's great that the university is having him over here to talk and answer questions. Yes, his country isn't viewed favorably, but because of that we never hear what his and his countries views really are. We hear propaganda from the administration aimed at reinforcing the idea that his country is "bad".

    Let him come over here and try to explain his side of the story. Use your own common sense to judge which side might be more truthful. Stop listening to the political propaganda machine, and open your mind to the possibility that everything isn't exactly like one political party of another would want you to believe.
     
  17. apriusfan

    apriusfan New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(dbermanmd @ Sep 21 2007, 05:50 AM) [snapback]515702[/snapback]</div>
    It is definitely spitting in the face of the U.S. But treason? Not yet (we haven't declared war against Syria). It was the same loophole that enabled Hanoi Jane to ply her trade with impunity.
     
  18. Proco

    Proco Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(IsrAmeriPrius @ Sep 21 2007, 12:35 PM) [snapback]515833[/snapback]</div>
    Care to identify the publication?[/b][/quote]
    Bill Krisol: The Weekly Standard
    Hugh Hewitt: Townhall.com
    Victor Hansen: National Review Online
     
  19. roryjr

    roryjr Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(eagle33199 @ Sep 21 2007, 01:22 PM) [snapback]515858[/snapback]</div>
    I need to remind you that freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. Who does the Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech to? American citizens. The president of Iran does not qualify.

    Yes, he will try to explain his side of the story. He will be asked tough questions. I've watched countless politicians listen to a question and talk for 5 minutes without actually answering it. 9 times out of 10, the interviewer goes on to the next question. This university guy is not going to say, "wait a minute. You did not answer the question sir." It won't happen. The media will spin it to make America look bad just like they have been doing every since President Bush got into office. Abinmajad (whatever) will go home and gloat over how he did everthing he wanted to do on the great satan's soil how superior he is.

    Why can't you see this?
     
  20. mparrish

    mparrish New Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(dbermanmd @ Sep 21 2007, 07:50 AM) [snapback]515702[/snapback]</div>
    It is not treason.

    But the main point is this. The political right thinks it is treason, but is too weak & cowardly to do anything about it. Treason? Get a sympathetic prosecutor to indict him.

    You won't, because your side is weak & pathetic. Your gonna sit there and take what we dish out again and again and again, and come back for more.

    This thread will be long since archived & Kucinich will still have not been charged with treason by the right because your side is so scared to do it. Thats sad, very sad.
     
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