Monday, September 24, 2007

David Schizer Dean Columbia Univ. Law School: Ahmadinejad should not have been provided platform

"A controversy has developed about the invitation extended to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran by the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. Although Columbia Law School was not involved in arranging this invitation, we have received many inquiries about it."

"The event raises deep and complicated issues about how best to express our commitment to intellectual freedom and to our way of life. 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 time again, to be uninterested in whether his words are true. Therefore, my personal opinion is that he should not be invited to speak. Mr. Ahmadinejad is a reprehensible and dangerous figure who presides over a repressive regime, is responsible for the deaths of American Soldiers, denies the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of Israel. It would be deeply regrettable if some misread the invitation as lending prestige or legitimacy to his views."