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Congratulations are in order for Columbia’s President Bollinger, who vetoed the scheme by Dean Lisa Anderson of the School of International and Public Affairs, to give the Holocaust-denying, nuclear-bomb-building, terrorism-sponsoring president of Iran a platform at Morningside Heights. Mr. Bollinger denounced President Ahmadinejad’s views as “repugnant.” As a law professor specializing in the First Amendment, Mr. Bollinger grasps the importance of maintaining the campus as a place of free academic inquiry. But Mr. Ahmadinejad’s posturing in support of a regime that mocks free speech, jailing students who try to speak in Iran.
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s viewpoint, alas, is already well represented on Morningside Heights. That Mr. Bollinger can recognize it as “repugnant” and feels free to say so is a welcome step toward restoring Columbia to the first rank of our universities. He did better in this respect than some other institutions here, including the Council on Foreign Relations, which was so eager to host Mr. Ahmadinejad in the name of diplomatic learning that it served almost as his p.r. firm. We predict that Mr. Bollinger will look back on this season and be glad for his own decision.