I gather that Columbia will be tightly secured Monday for the Ahmadinejad visit.  Hopefully things will remain peaceful.  I all too well recall the bust of ’68 when 1,000 cops hit the campus late at night and assaulted any faculty and students they could hit. I watched them trap a slight of build guy on a car on B’way near the 116th St. gate and beat him with their clubs.  The students who had been occupying university buildings had been smuggled out through the tunnels and those beaten were ones who had been awakened by the uproar and come out to watch.  A Hunter colleague had called to urge me to get to the campus (in coat and tie) which I had done and one of the police who had been guarding the gate and I watched in horror at the beatings all around us.

The subsequent investigations of what exactly had happened were marred in some instances by cover-up lying, e.g. a dean who had been billed as being held captive by students had actually been ordered by the administration to remain in his office where students provided food and whatever.

Let us hope that this event will be peaceful.  Right wingers, including presidential candidates, have been screaming bloody murder today that Ahmadinejad should be allowed to visit an American campus.  Hopefully out of the Iranian spotlight he may make more sense in response to student questions than the oft reported slams that he favors the destruction of Israel and denies the Holocaust.  Needless to say anything that we can do to avert more violence in the Middle East will be to the good of all.

Shall try to look in and report what I find.  I understand that 600 tickets have been given out for people to attend the event and the campus will probably be pretty well closed up.  I have a Columbia ID but will probably only overlook from a distance and listen to reports from here and there.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent  212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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