News | Administration

Ahmadinejad rumors fly after Fox News mistake

The University unexpectedly became the brunt of conservative indignation this week, after articles from Fox News and other outlets erroneously claimed that University President Lee Bollinger would be dining in Midtown next week with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Last week, Spectator reported that 15 members of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association were invited to a dinner with Ahmadinejad on Sept. 21. Three days later, Fox News incorrectly reported that Bollinger would be joining the students at the dinner. Members emphasize that the dinner itself is also still tentative.

The University has issued a statement denying any involvement in the dinner, and adding that the news stories “fundamentally misstate the University’s role in this unconfirmed possible encounter. Simply put, there never was one. In fact, at no time has there ever been any university event planned or considered involving the president of Iran, nor has there ever been any plan for a dinner involving the Iranian president and President Bollinger.”

In 2007, a firestorm of media attention erupted when Ahmadinejad was invited to speak at Columbia’s World Leaders Forum on campus. Despite outside criticism and threats from alumni to withdraw funding, Bollinger refused to cancel the event but gave Ahmadinejad a notoriously chilly introduction, calling him a “petty and cruel dictator.” Students filled College Walk and Low Plaza to listen to Ahmadinejad’s speech and protest his notoriously dictatorial hold over Iran.

Fox News has updated their story to exclude any reference to President Bollinger’s alleged involvement in the dinner. Members of CIRCA have told Spectator they will not comment until after the dinner has taken place to ensure that their comments to the media do not jeopardize the dinner’s security arrangements or their personal safety.

Following these reports, Shurat HaDin, an Israeli law center, sent Bollinger a letter condemning the alleged invitation in a statement that said, “Hosting Ahmadinejad at a banquet is not merely morally repulsive: it is illegal and likely to render Columbia University and its officers both criminally and civilly liable.”

The Tel Aviv-based law center inaccurately implied that Columbia is hosting the event. The University is not and neither is CIRCA; Ahmadinejad often dines with American students when he is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. In the past he has invited students from Yale, Harvard, and other big-name universities to a private dinner, where they are given the chance to ask one or two questions as a group.

Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, also issued a statement condemning what the organization perceived to be the University’s involvement.

“Columbia’s President Bollinger’s invitation to Jewish genocide promoter, Al Qaeda ally and terrorist Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a private dinner party is a morally reprehensible act and a major affront to decent people, especially the Jewish alumni and donors of Columbia University,” Klein wrote.

Columbia students said they are mostly used to hearing incorrect reports about their school from Fox News.

“Well that’s just Fox News. Didn’t we already establish that they’re biased? I don’t really expect much from them,” Sean Francis, SEAS ‘13, said.

“This is a very well-respected university. It’s a community that should foster open dialogue, and it is a misrepresentation that all viewpoints aren’t valued here,” Damien LaRock, TC, said.

Alejandra Oliva, Anushka Lobo, and Kandace Fuller contributed reporting.

news@columbiaspectator.com

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safety posted on

The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. See the link below for more info.

safety
www.inspgift.com

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Anonymous posted on

Ahmadinejad is not a dictator. He is an international hero.

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Anonymous posted on

Put down the bong and get yourself a library card.

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Anonymous posted on

As usual Fox does not get the facts correct. He is coming to New York to speak at the United Nations, as every world leader regularly does. He is hosting a dinner and invited students from around the globe to his event that he is hosting in New York. Of the hundreds invited, fifteen Columbia students are invited. This tenative event has absolutely nothing to do with Columbia University. Further, the president of Israel is always welcome to come to New York and host a dinner for American students.

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Anonymous posted on

The President of Israel is to Ahmedinejad as Winston Churchill was to Hitler. 

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Anonymous posted on

The Fox mistakes are intentional. Fox is a propaganda outlet and not a news outlet.

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Anonymous posted on

“This is a very well-respected university. It’s a community that should foster open dialogue, and it is a misrepresentation that all viewpoints aren’t valued here,” Damien LaRock, TC, said.
 Sadly this argument is made even when bigotry and racism are defended. Would Mr. LaRock also welcome the 
Ku Klux Klan on campus so that they could also express their " viewpoint ?

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Anonymous posted on

Altho I agree with you, Ahmedijad was invited to speak at Columbia almost five years ago. We, and FOX, should no longer be talking about this. Seeing him also shed light first hand on what a nut this guy is.

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Anonymous posted on

One does not have to sit down to dinner with a racist in order to see " what a nut " he is. Racism deserves condemnation  not companionship.

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Anonymous posted on

I'd love to give clowns like that the chance to make fools of themselves.  Getting them out from under their rocks and giving smart people a chance to decide for themselves how ridiculous an idea or viewpoints is can be very educational.

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Anonymous posted on

One does not discourage bigotry by enabling it or discourage racism by sitting down to sip a soda with a racist.

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DansDaMan posted on

I don't see why everyone is getting so exciting about a few Columbia students breaking bread with Ahmadinejad. He hasn't attacked Israel with nuclear weapons yet.

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Anonymous posted on

Would you prefer to wait in passing judgment on the man after he does?

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Anonymous posted on

I foresee some great facebook postings by the students attending, and perhaps some new "friends"

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Anonymous posted on

To Damien LaRock,
Are Tea Party representatives welcome ? How about ROTC ?
How about the Boy Scouts of America ?
I thought heard phrases such as 'need to hear all points of view' and
'obligation to listen'

So, can Tea Party set a date ?

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Anonymous posted on

Iran executed 3 men several weeks ago for being gay. Enough said. Shame on those of you looking for agree meal with the murderous dictator.

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Anonymous posted on

Fox News is strangely obsessed with Columbia. But we should also remember that the Spectator also sucks at accurate reporting, particularly in their ability to take down quotations.

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