Columbia University Warns Students Against Mentioning WikiLeaks in Public


The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University sent out an email warning students not to talk about WikiLeaks on the internet if they hope to ever work in the State Department. The school, which aims to construct new diplomats from scraps of old diplomats in its state of the art laboratories, quoted an anonymous former student now working for the U.S. government recommending that students “DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter.” Full text of the email, via the New York Times The Lede blog, after the jump.

From: “Office of Career Services”

Date: November 30, 2010 15:26:53 EST:

Hi students,

We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

Office of Career Services

The Lede then pokes a little fun at the school, noting that a professor blogged extensively about WikiLeaks:

The same day that the school sent out its warning to students to avoid traceable online chatter about the leaked cables, a member of the faculty, Gary Sick, who served on the National Security Council during the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations, posted some thoughts on his blog that his students are now presumably advised not to link to on their blogs or Twitter or Facebook accounts.

As career advice, Columbia’s suggestions are probably sound — and what is a private college if not super expensive career advice — but the whole thing seems a little, dare we say, fascist. Presumably it takes a special type to fancy a career as a diplomat in the first place, so maybe it’s beyond our comprehension, but if that’s you, you might as well take down those keg party pictures while you’re at it. Oh, and delete your LinkedIn because that site is bullshit.