Columbia Whitewash Dean took Saudi Junket

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Academic officials in prestigious universities like Columbia may not be covered by the conflict—of—interest regulations which apply to public officials, but surely these tax—exempt institutions owe some sort of duty to basic principles of honesty.

Last year, Columbia students made serious charges of bias and worse in classroom behavior of professors with regard to Israel. A university "investigation" absolved the professors . Now we learn that a dean who "investigated" and perpetrated the whitewash had shortly before received an expenses—paid junket to Saudi Arabia.

Sadly, Columbia University is demonstrating a consistent pattern of behavior that can only be described as corrupt — in and outside the classroom. The New York Sun's Alex Magnet reports:

Months before a Columbia University dean was named to a special committee convened to investigate student complaints about professors' hostility to Israel, the dean took a trip to Saudi Arabia that she acknowledges was "largely" paid for by Saudi Aramco, the kingdom—owned oil company.

The dean, Lisa Anderson of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, was one of five members of the committee named in December 2004. The committee for the most part cleared the accused scholars of blame, prompting critics to describe their report as a whitewash.

The March 2004 junket to Saudi Arabia is described in glowing terms on a Web site for former Saudi Aramco employees that details the "delightful lunch" enjoyed by the Columbia delegation, as well as a "wonderful dinner" during which "guests watched the sunset over the sand dunes from the tent."

The tour, which the National Council on U.S.—Arab Relations helped organize, took a total of 10 Columbia faculty members and scholars to Riyadh, Dharan, and other parts of Saudi Arabia to tour facilities and meet with officials of the oil company.

Donors contemplating a gift to Columbia should take note.

Ed Lasky  1 11 06

Academic officials in prestigious universities like Columbia may not be covered by the conflict—of—interest regulations which apply to public officials, but surely these tax—exempt institutions owe some sort of duty to basic principles of honesty.

Last year, Columbia students made serious charges of bias and worse in classroom behavior of professors with regard to Israel. A university "investigation" absolved the professors . Now we learn that a dean who "investigated" and perpetrated the whitewash had shortly before received an expenses—paid junket to Saudi Arabia.

Sadly, Columbia University is demonstrating a consistent pattern of behavior that can only be described as corrupt — in and outside the classroom. The New York Sun's Alex Magnet reports:

Months before a Columbia University dean was named to a special committee convened to investigate student complaints about professors' hostility to Israel, the dean took a trip to Saudi Arabia that she acknowledges was "largely" paid for by Saudi Aramco, the kingdom—owned oil company.

The dean, Lisa Anderson of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, was one of five members of the committee named in December 2004. The committee for the most part cleared the accused scholars of blame, prompting critics to describe their report as a whitewash.

The March 2004 junket to Saudi Arabia is described in glowing terms on a Web site for former Saudi Aramco employees that details the "delightful lunch" enjoyed by the Columbia delegation, as well as a "wonderful dinner" during which "guests watched the sunset over the sand dunes from the tent."

The tour, which the National Council on U.S.—Arab Relations helped organize, took a total of 10 Columbia faculty members and scholars to Riyadh, Dharan, and other parts of Saudi Arabia to tour facilities and meet with officials of the oil company.

Donors contemplating a gift to Columbia should take note.

Ed Lasky  1 11 06