FIRE President to Address Free Speech at Columbia on Tuesday Night

February 19, 2007

Columbia University has arguably led the Ivy League in playing host to free speech controversies on campus over the last few years. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will discuss Columbia’s past and ongoing free speech abuses at a panel discussion tomorrow night on the Columbia campus. The panel, which begins at 8:00 pm in the Hamilton building, room 304, is sponsored by the Columbia Political Union and will also feature Arthur Eisenberg, Legal Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Allen Lang, National Student and Youth Coordinator with The World Can’t Wait.
Columbia’s recent history of free speech abuses includes accusations that the department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC) systematically discouraged pro-Israel opinions; an administrative attempt to punish the men’s ice hockey club for posting flyers that offended some students; and the violent interruption of Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist’s campus lecture.
Greg will pay particular attention to the use of ideological litmus tests at Columbia’s Teachers College. Teachers College’s Conceptual Framework, which represents the “philosophy for teacher education at Teachers College,” requires students to possess a “commitment to social justice,” and thus mandates an ideology that students are expected to follow. Greg will emphasize how this mandatory approach to education is inconsistent with Teachers College’s stated commitments to academic freedom, Columbia President Lee Bollinger’s stated commitments to free speech, and the standard of intellectual freedom that the modern academy is supposed to embody.

Schools:  Columbia University