Ahmadinejad at Columbia

One of my readers recently expressed dissatisfaction that I and my colleagues appear to be taking "a back seat on" the issue of Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia, adding that "the voice of members of the faculty of CLS should be heard on this." To which I respond:

1) The issues on which members of Columbia LAW School (not the sponsor of this event) have expertise are the ones on which we have been speaking up: free speech, academic freedom and the like. In case anyone was left wondering about this, let me say unequivocally that I strongly disagree with Ahmadinejad's offensive views (e.g., Holocaust denial) and conduct (e.g., support for terrorist groups, pursuit of nuclear weapons).

2) I'm not sure that it's so important to tell Americans that Columbia faculty do not share the views of Ahmadinejad---except to mitigate the PR damage done to the university by the contrary impression they might receive from those who like to bash Columbia. But I'm happy to do my bit to correct that grotesque misimpression. (See number 1, above.)

3) In any event, more important than reaching an American audience is reaching an Iranian one. Thus, I'm happy to announce that on Monday I'll be commenting on free speech and academic freedom issues arising out of this whole episode for Voice of America. The program will be translated into Farsi and will be widely available in Iran. (My commentary will occur before Ahmadinejad's speech, which I could not attend even if I wanted to, due to a conflict with my teaching schedule and the fact that registration for it is full.)

Posted by Mike Dorf