Columbia Law School dean criticizes Ahmadinejad invitation


The dean of the Law School at New York’s Columbia University, David Schizer, has criticized a decision by the university to invite Iran’s hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to campus.

Ahmadinejad, in New York this week for the opening of the UN General Assembly, has accepted an invitation from the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs to speak on Monday. Schizer said in a statement: “Although we believe in free and open debate at Columbia and should never suppress points of view, we are also committed to academic standards… A high-quality academic discussion depends on intellectual honesty but, unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad has proven himself, time and again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true.”

Schizer described the Iranian leader as a “reprehensible and dangerous figure who presides over a repressive regime, is responsible for the death of American soldiers, denies the Holocaust, and calls for the destruction of Israel.” Still, Schizer added, “I recognize that others within our community take a different view in good faith, and that they have the right to extend invitations that I personally would not extend.”

Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, had defended the invitation on the grounds of free speech and academic freedom. Bollinger pledged that during his introduction of Ahamdinejad he would issue “a series of sharp challenges” on several 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.”

2 Responses to Columbia Law School dean criticizes Ahmadinejad invitation

  1. Muslims Against Sharia condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the decision of Columbia University to provide a speaking venue for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Apparently letting Akbar Rafsanjani speak at the National Cathedral was not the height of American Dhimmitude, because providing a venue for the world’s foremost anti-Semite, whose proclaimed goal is the destruction of the USA and Israel, definitely takes the cake. What is surprising is that we don’t hear any complaints from Columbia alumni who should be ashamed of their silence.

    More on the subject: Why Does Columbia host Ahmadinejad?

  2. I am not sure about him getting any publicity in the U.S. in the first place. Should the idealism of free speech have been extended to him?

    On a positive note the the University President Bollinger was in fine form: “Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,” Bollinger told Ahmadinejad from a podium across the stage. He said the Iranian’s denial of the Holocaust might fool “the illiterate and ignorant,” but that “when you come to a place like this, it makes you quite simply ridiculous.” Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust suggested he was either “brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated,” Bollinger added.

    His commenteary showed just how preposterous some of the Iranian Presidents assertions are. and to think, he called for more research on the holocaust. Well let us have more research thus confiming how wrong Ahmadinejad is.

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