Columbia University: Cancellation of Event Focusing on Rule of Law in Turkey


Columbia University

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Case Overview


On April 4, 2019, Columbia University was set to host a panel discussion on the rule of law in Turkey. On April 1, the university informed participants that the event would be postponed to a later date. While some participants and organizers had expressed concerns about the makeup of the panel, multiple outlets reported that representatives of the Turkish government had privately complained to the university about the political views represented on the panel and some participants expressed concerns that the event was canceled on that basis. FIRE wrote to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger on April 8 to ask that, in keeping with its free speech commitments, the university clarify the circumstances surrounding the event’s cancellation and make public the nature and content of requests, if any, from government officials about the event.