Lee Bollinger's Triumph

Will President Ahmadinejad invite President Bollinger to speak in Tehran?

Subsequently, Lee Bollinger revised Columbia's far from friendly student-complaint system, but the bureaucratic hurdles remained.

In the aftermath of the Ahmadinejad storm, I was disappointed to see in the September 26 New York Times that Emily Steinberger, a spokeswoman for LionPAC, a pro-Israel organization at Columbia, "had vehemently opposed" the invitation. It was LionPAC that greatly helped spread the word about constrictions of student free speech in the Middle East Studies department. But attachment to free speech is often situational rather than ingrained. However, Steinberger did applaud Bollinger's speaking truth to his guests.

Credit is due, on the other hand, to Michael Bloomberg for his reaction to the mighty Sheldon Silver's threat. The mayor characterized Silver's stance as "cheap political pandering."

I think the person currently running for the presidency as America's Mayor would have demanded even harsher stripping of state funds to Columbia.

Lee Bollinger was responsible for a historic "teaching moment" in American public life; and not surprisingly, so many, in and out of public life, didn't get the message.

Bollinger is also criticized for being too rude to his guest; but plain speaking to the strangler of freedom in Iran is essential. Our own president requires a great deal more plain speaking from the Democratic Congress—and us. And, introducing Robert Mugabe or Fidel Castro, I, too, would be rude as hell.

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