Columbia Still Reeling Over Visit

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Before Iran’s president took the stage at Columbia University on Monday, the university’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, sent out an early-morning e-mail message, calling on students and faculty “to live up to the best of Columbia’s traditions.” Yesterday, many critics questioned whether Mr. Bollinger had met that test himself.

On campus and in editorials across the nation, on political blogs and throughout academia, there was a sharp division of opinion about Mr. Bollinger’s pointed introduction of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a man who exhibited “all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator” and whose denial of the Holocaust was “either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”

Some said Mr. Bollinger’s remarks were just the rebuke that Mr. Ahmadinejad deserved. Others said they were embarrassing and offensive. And there were still questions about whether Mr. Ahmadinejad should have been afforded a public platform at a prestigious university at all.

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