Columbia University welcomes Ahmadinejad; Columbia Political Union rejects Minuteman speaker
Via this we learn that at the same time as Columbia University and their president Lee Bollinger wants Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to engage in a speech at Columbia (link), the student-led Columbia Political Union is denying a similar right to Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist.
The CPU's executive board (cupolitics.org/leadership/eboard.html) voted on Monday night to deny a return engagement to Gilchrist. As you may recall, he was forced off the stage by violent far-left groups last year.
From their statement (blog.cupolitics.org/node/291):
After several productive conversations with other student leaders and our advisors, and after lengthy discussions among our Executive Board members, it has become clear that this event cannot take the form we had originally hoped it would and could not effectively accomplish the goals we had hoped it might.
Gilchrist says that a majority of their members as well as deans wanted him to speak. However, Professor David Eisenbach may have been one of those who helped pull the plug.
UPDATE: Not so fast: Eisenbach is looking like one of the good guys, telling AP about the decision to uninvite Gilchrist:
"The health of a free society and a university depends on the free expression of ideas. Only through a free expression of ideas can we reach the truth."
"Of course I imagine there will be a protest, a large and potentially disruptive one—though I don't know about that—and certainly I will be helping to organize it," Judd, reached by phone Monday afternoon, said of the invitation... "I would really like to know what the hell he [Eisenbach] thinks he's doing," [International Socialist Organization President David Judd, SEAS '08] added... Lauren Steinberg, CC '09 and CUCR's director of operations, said she hadn't heard of the invitation before today [9/17]... "Personally, I really hope he's not coming," Steinberg said. "I mean, it was a fun time last year, but I don't need it to happen again."
Their plan was initially to invite Karina Garcia to debate Gilchrist, but apparently she refused.