The Corner

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Bollinger’s Change of Heart


Last year, Columbia president Lee Bollinger withdrew Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s invitation to speak at Columbia’s World Leaders Forum, overruling the dean in charge of the program. At the time, the New York Sun reported:

In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Mr. Bollinger said he canceled Mr. Ahmadinejad’s invitation because he couldn’t be certain it would “reflect the academic values that are the hallmark of a University event such as our World Leaders Forum.” He told [Dean Lisa] Anderson that Mr. Ahmadinejad could speak at the school of international and public affairs, just not as a part of the university-wide leader’s forum.

Yet this year, Bollinger is defending Ahmadinejad’s invitation to speak at this same forum. What’s changed? If anything, there’s a stronger case to be made against extending the invitation to Ahmadinejad this year than last.