69 million page views

My letter to Columbia and its response

Reader comment on item: Columbia University vs. America

Submitted by Ron Gans (United States), Apr 1, 2003 at 16:45

Following my reading of DeGenova's rant in Newsday, I sent the following to Nicholas Dirks, Chair of the Department of Anthropolgy:

I read the Newsday article which I'm sure you're familiar with, on the treasonous professor, Nicholas DeGenova. I am disgusted more than I am fully able to express. I hope Columbia loses a lot of money for keeping this traitor on staff. Should Mr. DeGenova still be teaching at Columbia when some of our troops he hopes die fighting in Iraq return to classes, do you think he has the guts to express these sentiments to any of them directly? Any bets? Sadly and embarassedly, I studied at Kent Hall for several years in the 1980s.

Ronald Gans New York City

to which Prof. Dirks responded:

Thank you for your letter.

I would like to make clear in the strongest possible terms that the recent (March 26th, 2003) remarks by Assistant Professor Nicholas DeGenova concerning the war in Iraq were made on his own behalf and should not be taken to reflect the views of the department of Anthropology. As chair and as an individual member of Columbia's faculty I cherish the principles of freedom of speech and academic freedom. Now more than ever, we need to protect these freedoms. However, I am deeply concerned when the academic obligations of debate and critique are sullied by sentiments that seem profoundly out of line with the values and commitments that are fundamental to academic life. I am personally appalled by some of Professor DeGenova's remarks, and repudiate any statement wishing violence against soldiers or civilians alike. I deeply regret the offence that has been occasioned by this incident, but must note as well that I am also saddened by the violence of the language that has been directed, in turn, not just at Professor DeGenova alone, but at the department of Anthropology as a whole and our colleagues in the faculty and administration at Columbia University.

Professor Nicholas Dirks, Chair, Department of Anthropology


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)