Monthly Archives: April 2005

Accountability and Columbia

To put the question of the report aside for a second, the CU/NYT Collusion Scandal, which caught members of the Columbia administration red-handed in attempting to censor students, and caught the New York Times ignoring its ethics in favor of pleasing the institution that awards Pulitzers, raises a few questions for me:
First, lets forgo the ethics for a second and focus on the strictly operational: As one of the three students Susan Brown admitted to that she had cooked the story, I can’t help think about how she had at least three hours to correct the “mistake”–between 8pm and nearly 11pm when the story was posted on-line. If I was the public affairs director of world-class institution, I would try to make sure that my University doesn’t have its name dragged through the mud yet again. When we spoke to her, and she continued to deny us access to the report, I told her that if she did not I would call the same “tabloids” she was so disgusted with and tell them about the story. She didn’t budge. So I did. And the Scandal broke in the Sun and the Post, and Josh Gajer and Steven I. Weiss rocked the Ivory Tower to its core by publicizing further what happened. Why? Where there other decision maker’s involved? Do they know something that we do not know? Was she pressured into it by the Times, or was she just that blind to see how bad this would look? Only an internal investigation at Columbia will find that out–and I hope the administration recognizes that the results of this investigation should be published soon. This will not be forgotten, gaining traction around the web, and if the Abuse Controversy has taught anyone anything is that these things just do not go away.
Second, to go back to ethics, who else knew about this deal? If one takes into account the damage to credibility, it’s bad. But if one adds to it the very fact that ethically it is abhorrent to release a report dealing with student grievances to the world before showing it to the students, this move epitomized the rank at Columbia. As David French writes on FIRE’s excellent blog, “The real scandal is Columbia’s decision to “spin” this case in the world’s most powerful newspaper without giving the students any opportunity to respond. Such a decision decisively strips away any veneer of impartiality from the university and makes it clear that the university’s real interest is in making the allegations “go away,” not in discovering and addressing the truth.” Just as we said at our press-conference last week: it is time someone made clear to the administration that “it’s the students, _________.”
The scandal grows: the New York Times ran its correction and now included an editorial in hope to throw an olive branch at Columbia. But where is Columbia’s official apology? I’m still waiting to see if Columbia knows the meaning of accountability.


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What Has Captured My Attention – Thesis Done

After many months, and regrettably not enough time, I turned in my senior thesis on Thursday. Here it is, on-line, for all to tear apart (hopefully with care).
Here is a paragraph from the introduction to help you decide whether or not you would like to take it on:

In focusing on this case [of the Hebron Riots], this thesis will inquire as to what causes brother to rise up against brother, neighbor against neighbor, and what led these two peoples who had otherwise lived in peace to come into conflict in 1929. Taking into account the historical context, and the general consensus in the literature reviewed throughout this paper that the Riots were not an isolated event but rather the culmination of a process developing for some time and included the imposition of British rule over Palestine, the question of animosity can be more narrowly focused: What caused Jews and Arabs to abandon their previous period of cooperation—or at the very least the previous status quo of non-violent relations—in favor of violence and competition, and why did the groups choose to compete against one another rather than banding together to throw off the British mandate in favor of mutual self-determination?

Hope you enjoy it, and look forward to your criticism.

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