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Letter to President Lee Bollinger of Columbia University on scrapping plans for speech by Iranian President

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, Salt Lake City, Utah


Re: Columbia scraps plans for speech by Iranian president amid criticism from Jewish group

Columbia scraps plans for speech by Iranian president amid criticism from Jewish group

Columbia University has scrapped plans for an address by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad because of security and logistical problems. The move came as a Jewish activist group expressed outrage that the hard-line leader had been invited to speak. -AP, 9/22/06 


What a sad day for Columbia university, indeed, for our country, when one of its finest universities succumbs to the pressures of a minority group and erodes the pillars of democracy, free speech, and education.


Columbia University derives its fame and good name from one of America’s most famous and loved presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt; who in 1932 formed a group of advisors referred to as ‘brain trust’.  These advisors were mainly from Columbia’s professors. This formidable group contributed greatly to FDR’s campaign and he continued to benefit from their wise counsel throughout his presidency. 


To this day, Columbia remains(ed) one of America’s top universities.  Indeed, the honor,  privilege and pride that accompany Columbia student/alumni is unmistakable.  To sacrifice all this achievement to appease a group of angry protesters is a high price to pay indeed.


No one has to agree with Iran’s President Ahmadinejad; but to remove a healthy forum of free speech is indeed a sin worse than those committed by Hitler, as has become the common slander these days.  Life without the liberty of exchanging ideas is one so lacking in substance that such depravation is too base for a society such as ours.   


Additionally, although Ahmadinjad’s misinterpreted words have been controversial, he has not threatened a single country with nuclear attacks.  Perhaps the protesters should bear this reality in mind as opposed to their hatred being driven by false reports, fear, and above all, bigotry.


... Payvand News - 9/23/06 ... --

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