Columbia comes in for some nasty and predictable ink in today’s New York Post, which accuses the University of institution-wide bias against the military for an incident in which a veteran and student was heckled during a speech. The student, Anthony Maschek, was addressing the student body during a hearing on the controversial possible reinstatement of ROTC at Columbia when students yelled “Racist!” due to his claim that: “There are bad men out there plotting to kill you.” The incident was mentioned on the Columbia Spectator‘s liveblog of the hearing, but did not merit further coverage in the school paper’s wrap-up coverage of the event, which instead noted administration members’ support for a military presence on campus.
No matter, to the Post‘s Bob McManus, who sees the incident as a moment for the campus administration, including President Lee Bollinger, to further capitulate to the military, and to offer a full apology to the speaker, who claims that he was heckled only by a “very small minority” of students at the hearing. A source in attendance remarked to the Observer that “only about a dozen were being rude,” and were doing so specifically in regard to Maschek’s claim about “bad men,” not because, as the Post claims, the academy “hates the military” for mysterious reasons:
And the usual sophistries about gay rights, economic justice, America’s hobnailed boots, whatever — the same bushwa dragged out by the academy whenever it feels the need to deflect attention from the obvious, which is that it hates the military and has for more than a generation.
More seasoned Columbia-watchers will remember the Post‘s outrage over students’ protesting the Minutemen, or Bollinger’s inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak. Columbia University set up a hotline for the public that plays a recording reinforcing “a place where students and faculty engage directly with important issues” and notes the University’s respect for veterans in the student body. University representatives did not respond for a request for further comment. This on-message behavior, though, much like the administration’s actual support for ROTC on campus, will not likely stop the Post from capitalizing on the gossip mill uptown.
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