As a 1990 Columbia College graduate, I can only gape in amazement at the spectacle this week of President Bollinger inviting Iranian President Ahmadinejad to speak on campus, and then starting the festivities off by repeatedly and personally insulting Ahmadinejad. I can imagine the intense pressure Bollinger was under from various special interest groups, but it's simply embarrassing to invite a world leader over for an event just so you can call him names - and this comes from a university president known as a Free Speech crusader.
The Iranian President was going make a complete ass of himself anyway (Holocaust is a theory, there are no gays in Iran, etc), but Bollinger managed to actually make Ahmadinejad into a more sympathetic character with the juvenile attacks, and it made the US look even more backwards than normal in the Muslim world, which is saying a lot given our recent track record.
What's even more astonishing is the number of posts in the Columbia alumni forum which actually supported the insults and which have been comparing Ahmadinejad to Hitler, among other dictators. There are days when Americans act like small town bigots, but I just never thought the Bollinger would be one of them - it's a sad day for Columbia and I would prefer if we changed leadership since it's clear we don't have the intellectual or moral strength in the current President.