A friend and I moseyed up to Columbia University a few nights ago to hear ex-jihadist Walid Shoebat and two other men speak of their former involvement in violent cults. We discovered some people milling about outside the auditorium who had been invited by the College Republicans, had confirmed reservations in hand, and had come from afar, but were nevertheless being rejected for entry. It seems that at the last minute, college chaplain Jewelnel Davis decided for security purposes (due to the student-initiated violence at the Minutemen appearance some days before) that the event would be confined only to students and a select group of outsiders. Anyone not on the revised list, regardless of previous reservations, was denied entry. An email cancellation had gone out at the last minute, too late for a number of people who had to travel to get to the city. One man had come from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, starting out at six o’clock in the morning. There was a small group that had driven in from Suffolk County, Long Island. Another woman had come in from New Jersey. No one came out to explain the change and absolutely nothing was done to try to make amends. There was not even a real apology. Every once in a while, someone opened the door a crack to repeat that he or she knew nothing further and was just following orders. Some people speculated that the College Republicans were deliberately being made to look bad by decisions above them, but they, the Republicans, should have sent someone out to talk to these people. A Columbia Spectator reporter did come out to get the facts for a story.
I had received only an email announcement and thought the event was completely open, so I didn’t have a reservation and of course had not come from far as these people had. What an outrage for Columbia to treat them in that way. Very very low. Even lower than Columbia’s shameful performance over the Minutemen. Time for another “investigation.” If the student-sparked melee over the Minutemen was the cause of concern, why cancel the reservations of outsiders? And why do it at the last minute, causing great inconvenience for those who did not receive the email cancellation in time? Davis and Columbia owe a lot of people an explanation and apology. It would not have hurt anyone to admit the number of people who did show up with reservations. That would have been the right thing to do, but no one with authority even bothered to anticipate the enormous inconvenience that their decisions caused.