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Columbia's Stonewall By: New York Post
New York Post | Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Forty-seven days: That's how long it's been since Columbia University hosted a breathtakingly brazen attack on free speech and academic freedom.

Since then, not a word of apology has been offered to those whose rights were trampled - nor an ounce of punishment meted out to the offenders.

The only thing, in fact, that Columbia's administrators have done is to announce an "investigation" - which, of course, they would do.

Beyond that, Columbia's silent.

* No comment on when the investigation might wrap up.

* No comment on how many students are under investigation.

* No comment on how many face possible expulsion.

Maybe Columbia's hoping the whole matter will simply go away.

Or perhaps the administration is just too scared to confront its brownshirts.

Regardless, what transpired that night is clear: Just as Jim Gilchrist, founder of the anti-illegal-immigration Minuteman Project, opened his remarks at a campus event sponsored by the college's Republican Club, thugs bum-rushed the stage and physically attacked the speaker.

Their assault was premeditated. Gilchrist was barely able to utter a word before being hustled away by security.

Apart from some boilerplate rhetoric immediately after the attack, university President Lee Bollinger has had little of substance to say about it.

There has been no formal apology to Gilchrist.

There has been no invitation for him to return to Columbia for a do-over.

Worst of all, Bollinger - though a First Amendment specialist - appears perfectly content with how things are proceeding.

Bollinger, of course, hasn't been shy on another matter: Columbia's plans to expand its northern Manhattan campus, annexing surrounding neighborhoods in the process.

To realize the campus' expansion, considerable acquiescence from the school's neighbors, and the city, will be required.

But if Bollinger can't - or, worse, won't - come expeditiously to terms with the young thugs roaming his campus, then it's fair to ask whether Columbia ought to be permitted to expand at all.

If Columbia no longer holds freedom of speech in the highest regard, its neighbors surely can be forgiven for wondering if the university can be trusted on more mundane matters.

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