Posted by Shapiro Ron on September 20, 2011 @ 12:06 am
This piece was featured in the Columbia Spectator on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. It was written by the Columbia Spectator Editorial Board (Samuel E. Roth recused himself from the writing of this editorial because he previously served on CIRCA’s executive board). It was not written by a LionPAC member.
Columbia International Relations Council and Association’s plan to dine with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this Wednesday has raised a few eyebrows on campus and in national and international media. Given the implications of dining with a man accused of gross human rights violations, political repression, and hostility toward the United States, we urge CIRCA to reconsider its decision to participate.
Numerous media outlets—American and Iranian alike—have inaccurately equated CIRCA’s acceptance of the invitation as from the University as a whole. National news outlets have demonstrated no more commitment to honest reporting than Iran’s, and we hope that the international community understands that CIRCA’s actions do not represent the University’s views as a whole. Fox News inaccurately claimed that President Bollinger was attending the dinner, a statement it later corrected.
While we uphold Columbia’s commitment to free speech, open dialogue, and freedom of association, CIRCA’s attendance at the dinner surpasses the bounds of responsible group behavior. We don’t doubt that the students involved in the dinner identify an opportunity to engage a world leader in a sincere gesture of diplomacy, but to do so with a leader like Ahmadinejad is not constructive.