With claims of anti-Semitic professors disturbing the halls of Columbia, university president Lee Bollinger made some very interesting remarks about the situation to the Association of the Bar of New York City. "We should not elevate our autonomy as individual faculty members above every other value," the president, Lee C. Bollinger, said in a speech to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. The basic gist was that while professors should not be restricted in what they say, they still need to remember that students, though smart and attending a university, will necessarily get the idea:

We should not accept the argument that we as teachers can do what we want because students are of sufficient good sense to know bias and indoctrination when they see it. This ignores the enormous differential in power between the professor and the student in a classroom setting.

Gothamist recommends interested people read this NY Times story full of his quotes, because Bollinger's remarks try to cover that tricky ground: Making sure professors have points of view, but also making sure professors are, in fact, guiding students and that certain courses can explore many ideas. Plus Bollinger criticizes outside parties to trying to butt in on school business. We've been lukewarm about Bollinger, but we think his remarks show that the complexity of the situation is being taken seriously.

Read President Bollinger's pre-winter break remarks (the last part talks about the controversy). And Gothamist on who (whom?) Lee Bollinger may be separated at birth from.