Karen W. Arenson in the New York Times:
Faced with complaints that Columbia University has tolerated anti-Semitism and intimidation in its Middle East studies classes, Columbia’s president said last night that academic freedom has some limits when it comes to the classroom and the broader educational experience.
“We should not elevate our autonomy as individual faculty members above every other value,” the president, Lee C. Bollinger, said in a speech to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Professors, he said, have a responsibility “to resist the allure of certitude, the temptation to use the podium as an ideological platform, to indoctrinate a captive audience, to play favorites with the like-minded and silence the others.”
Arguing that the health and vigor of universities rests on their scholarly professionalism, Mr. Bollinger said that when there are lapses, they should not be “accepted without consequences.”
His remarks came as Columbia awaits the report of an internal committee set up to investigate charges by some pro-Israeli students that they had been intimidated in classes by pro-Palestinian professors in the department of Middle Eastern and Asian languages and cultures and outside the classroom as well. They also said that this occurred for several years and that Columbia had not taken their charges seriously.