Columbia University's "whitewash dean" Lisa Anderson took a Saudi—funded junket shortly before dismissing complaints of anti—Israel bias and professorial misbehavor. Now, it turns out that she wouldn't have even been allowed to take such gift, had she worked in the Journalism School at Columbia, which, for all its faults, understands something about the corruption potential of junketing.
Alec Magnet of the New York Sun reports:
The faculty of Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism voted not to send a professor along on a trip to Saudi Arabia largely paid for by the kingdom's state—owned oil company, viewing it as a "propaganda junket" that would have set a poor ethical example for students.
Other Columbia professors and schools apparently had a different standard. As The New York Sun reported yesterday, the dean of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, Lisa Anderson, went along on the trip, just months before she was appointed to a committee that investigated allegations of misconduct by anti—Israel professors at Columbia. The five member committee for the most part cleared the professors, and its report was criticized by some as a whitewash.
Ms. Anderson earlier this week sought to defend the trip, saying she found it "very instructive" and that her school's students and faculty "often" travel around the world on projects funded by outside organizations or governments. Ten Columbia—affiliated scholars went on the Saudi—Aramco—sponsored trip to Saudi Arabia in March 2004.
But the journalism school opted out.
"We voted overwhelmingly not to participate in the program, because it was perceived as a propaganda junket — both for Saudi Arabia and Aramco. That decision was consistent with others we've made as a faculty in my 15 years here, rejecting free trips that come from special interests," a professor at the school, Samuel Freedman, said in an e—mail message.
There was little debate among the faculty over the issue, according to professors involved. The dean of the journalism school, Nicholas Lemann, said, "The feeling was that j—school professors should not accept junkets paid for by companies or foreign governments." To do so, he added, would be a violation of journalistic ethics and inappropriate for professors who serve as role models to their students.
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