Columbia University is reluctantly recognizing the First Amendment with an insulting email ahead of Young America’s Foundation’s campus lecture with Herman Cain, and in the wake of several speaking events being shouted down by intolerant leftists.
The email sent to Columbia’s student body by Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg, the Executive Vice President for University Life, mentions speakers who “raise serious concerns” when they “express derogatory views on race, religion and gender.”
“These kinds of messages,” the email continues, “contradict Columbia’s core commitment to the value of all members of our community and to diversity among our students, faculty, and staff.”
Ironic, that a school renowned for its liberal hegemony and radical leftist slant claims to value diversity. This is the school where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke (yes, that Iranian president who has wished for Israel to be wiped off the map) and liberal protestors are allowed to shout down those they disagree with and infringe on the First Amendment rights of their peers. One would be right to wonder how Columbia can still claim “commitment to the value of all members” of their community.
The pathetic attempt to appease leftist students while still remaining on the right side of the Constitution betrays Columbia’s weakness and long-standing failure to ensure ideological diversity is promoted. The most unbelievable line in the email calls out conservatives from behind a thin veil:
“It is foundational to Columbia’s learning and teaching missions that we allow for for the contestation of ideas. This includes expression of ideas that are deeply unpopular, offensive to many in our community, contrary to research-based understandings, and antagonistic to University tenets.”
In short, Columbia allows speakers who aren’t card-carrying members of the Left, but only begrudgingly and under protest. The email even goes so far as to solicit “additional ideas for how we might strengthen our effects to reject the messages of these speakers” in a near-invitation for leftist students to do anything and everything to prevent conservative ideas from being heard at Columbia.
Columbia is again making clear that conservatives are not welcome on its campus, a fact that will not stop YAF from bringing Herman Cain to speak on October 17.
It is Columbia’s responsibility to protect the First Amendment rights of conservative students and the speakers they invite to campus, and for the school to claim it supports free speech while also welcoming suggestions from students for how to reject speakers they disagree with, is shameful.