When Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist had his speech disrupted and overrun by protestors a month ago, I wrote the following:
And mark my words, Columbia won’t do a thing about it. Not a single student will be disciplined for their actions.
When Columbia President Lee Bollinger, himself a noted first amendment scholar, issued a strongly worded letter eloquently defending free speech, calling the incident “one of the most serious breaches of academic faith that can occur” at a university and promsing “full accountability by those found to be responsible”, I hoped i would be proven wrong in that prediction. It’s looking more and more like I won’t be.
The NY Post has an editorial where they point out that Columbia refuses even to discuss the alleged investigation going on:
More than three weeks have passed since Columbia University hosted one of the most brazen attacks on free speech and academic freedom in recent memory. 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 assure students, alumni, faculty and others who care deeply about the university that an “investigation” is under way.
But with weeks gone by and a public relations office deflecting calls on the matter, it’s starting to look like the term “investigation” may be a euphemism for “cover-up.”…
Apart from some boilerplate rhetoric immediately after the attack, university President Lee Bollinger has had little of substance to say.
There has been no formal apology to Gilchrist.
There has been no invitation for him to return to Columbia for a do-over.
Bollinger – though a First Amendment specialist – certainly has not been pounding his bully pulpit.
And Columbia won’t even discuss the investigation.
Likewise, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education weighs in:
Columbia’s continued silence regarding the internal “investigation” it insists is currently ongoing bodes ominously for free speech at Columbia. Instead of using the disruption as an opportunity to establish Columbia as an institution that values and protects freedom of expression on campus, the silence from President Lee Bollinger and Columbia’s leadership is deafening.
I agree. It’s possible that this investigation will yet lead to some actual action against those students that violated the rights of both the speaker and the audience, but I highly doubt it (and if it does, I will praise them as loudly as I am criticizing them now). But for now, I’m standing by my prediction: despite all the lofty rhetoric, not a single student or student organization will be punished for what they did. And that’s why this sort of thing goes on as often as it does on college campuses, because nothing is ever done about it.