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New York Post

 

Columbia's Cave-In

November 17, 2007

By John Leo

It is amusing - and instructive - to learn that Columbia University Presi dent Lee Bollinger's spine hasn't got ten any stiffer since he stood by a year ago and watched the First Amendment get an on-campus trashing.

Then, he allowed a gaggle of hooligans to chase an invited speaker off campus with no appreciable consequences.

Thursday, he coughed up a cool $50 million on behalf of five Columbia students who had gone on a hunger strike to protest ongoing "offenses" against multiculturalism at Morningside Heights.

As bribes go, that's no small potatoes.

So while Columbia's endowment doubtless can afford it, Bollinger shouldn't be surprised if the alumni keep their checkbooks closed when this year's fund-raising drive kicks off.

Bollinger opted to give in on several of the kiddies' demands - including an appreciable expansion of Columbia's ethnic-studies endeavors and a beefed-up freshman brainwashing (that is, orientation) program for next fall.

All silly stuff, but essentially harmless - and, again, Columbia can afford to indulge its children.

Note, however, the one significant student demand Bollinger declined to honor: a promise to halt the university's planned $7 billion expansion into Harlem.

That will go forward.

Meanwhile, his willingness to drop such swag on a few dyspeptic kids certainly won't go unnoticed.

Clearly, Columbia has cash to spare - so Bollinger shouldn't be surprised when some of the university's neighbors start getting antsy about their share.

Nothing gets built in New York these days without a so-called community benefits agreement - that is, free money and other goodies for the locals - and the pressure on Columbia to pony up was already substantial.

We suspect the price of poker just went up.

Smooth move, Lee.

Original Source: http://www.nypost.com/seven/11172007/postopinion/editorials/columbias_cave_in_565327.htm

 

 
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