Yesterday's Daily News cover story was a feature about how Columbia University was turning into a "Poison Ivy", what with some professors questioning Israel's right to be in the Middle East. This stems from student claims that certain professors are especially harsh in classrooms, humiliating them and intimidating them. Now, while there definitely may be something behind how much a professor's or student's views can be protected under the First Amendment (let alone respected), Gothamist wonders if the Daily News is taking advantage of the global climate (heightened fear about the Middle East and Arabs) to push this story [disclaimer: Gothamist did attend Columbia]. We're a little frustrated, because some of the story mishes and mashes between claims of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, which are two different (though sometimes related) things. And, from coverage in Columbia's student paper, The Columbia Spectator, it seems like students are still signing up for classes. As for having professors who intimidate you and have different opinions, that's the Socratic method and motivation for you to know your stuff.

The last time Gothamist can remember an incident with NYC professor and claims of anti-Semitism was in 1991, when City College professor Leonard Jeffries gave a speech saying Jews were central to the slave trade and called a fellow professor "the head Jew at City College." And Gothamist must admit - our issues with Columbia being inhospitable had more to do with the dorms than the professors.