Rudeness at Columbia
Columbia President Lee Bollinger deserves a lot of credit for trashing the Iranian president before his speech. It was the best of what academia should represent, the refusal to obey authority. Unlike the lame journalists who interviewed him without critique, Bollinger spoke truth to power. I just wish that university presidents who introduce dictators or failed government officials like those in the Bush Administration would criticize them, too.
Sadly, some lefties are criticizing Bollinger for his rudeness, including Daily Kos and Peter Kirstein, who argues that it is "contrary to normal professional discourse with a guest on a university campus" and "when a university president expresses such passionate positions on issues of the day, it could have a chilling effect on academic freedom and dialogue on a campus." He's wrong. Presidents are free to express their views, and it is doesn't violate the freedom of others on campus when they do. Let's encourage presidents to criticize government officials more often, and hope that they might.