Looks like administrators at CUNY are teeny bit embarrassed by the display of some its students heckling David Petraeus as he was walking off campus. Ann Kirschner, Dean of Macaulay Honors College of CUNY, circulated a statement yesterday labelling the behavior of the students “harassment” and “abusive behavior”.
Petraeus’s teaching post at CUNY has generated plenty of bad press before. When it emerged early in the summer that the university was paying him $150,000 as a visiting professor, outrage from just about everybody caused the school to reduce his salary to a symbolic $1.
Petraeus teaches the seminar “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?”, whose syllabus seems to mostly consist of articles from the Economist about How To Beat China.
In an email to press, Kirschner expressed her disappointment with the students’ behavior, offering that “this kind of behavior strikes more deeply at the heart of our cherished American right to express our beliefs without threats or fear of retribution.”
The school has updated its website to include a statement on the events in the video. The statement on the Macaulay Honors College website reads in full:
“Our university is a place where complex issues and points of view across the political and cultural spectrum are considered and debated in the hope that we might offer solutions to the problems in our world. In order to advance reasoned debate on such issues, it is important that multiple points of view be heard.
“Great universities strive to connect their students with remarkable leaders and thinkers so students can examine a variety of ideas,debate them, and form their own opinions. Those perspectives find expression through discussion in and out of the classroom.
“We may disagree, but we must always do so in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding. While the college supports the articulation of all points of view on critical issues, it is essential that dialogue within the academic setting always be conducted civilly.”
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