Tuesday, September 25, 2007

putting crushes aside and speaking truth to Mahmoud

Here is the text of Columbia University president Lee Bollinger's remarks before he gave the microphone to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What would Bollinger have said had Columbia not been so excoriated over the past week? It's interesting to think about, but largely meaningless because, obviously, we can only examine what he did say.

Ann Althouse examines what Bollinger said.

Bollinger explained his reason for inviting the Iranian president:
...to those who believe that this event never should have happened, that it is inappropriate for the University to conduct such an event, I want to say that I understand your perspective and respect it as reasonable. The scope of free speech and academic freedom should itself always be open to further debate. As one of the more famous quotations about free speech goes, it is “an experiment, as all life is an experiment.” I want to say, however, as forcefully as I can, that this is the right thing to do and, indeed, it is required by existing norms of free speech, the American university, and Columbia itself.

So having Ahmadinejad speak was somehow a "requirement" of free speech? Why wouldn't he give the stage to anyone who wished to speak? I seriously doubt someone would be allowed to stand on the stage and share the Gospel, or to merely recite the Sermon on the Mount or the Ten Commandments.

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