Bulliet the international diplomat, and other Ahmadinejad tidbits

Written by

We promise we’ll lay off the Ahmadinejad soon, but these were too good to pass up.


If you’re a potentially nuclear Middle Eastern state, how do you get in touch with the University? In the case of Iran, you contact Professor Richard Bulliet, who served as the intermediary in arranging President Ahmadinejad’s visit. “This year the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations asked me to convey a request for a renewal of the invitation,” Bulliet wrote in an e-mail to Bwog. “There was ample time to make arrangements. Columbia responded positively.” 

Also, regarding Prezbo’s explanatory meeting this afternoon with student leaders: one of them graciously provided Bwog with some notes. They are as follows:

“In attendance were representatives from the College Republicans, Hillel, LionPAC, Iranian Students Association, Sikh association, ISO, ACLU, USCC/SPEAK, CQA, SGB, CCSC/ESC, AAA, CPU, and Spectator. There was also the Law School Senator, and student representatives from SIPA, J-school, and the B-school.

Also present were Deans Columbo, Schollenberger, Yatrakis, and various members of Bollinger’s staff.

President Bollinger explained that the issue of Ahmadinejad visiting first came up last year. [Former SIPA Dean] Lisa Anderson had been in contact with the Iranian delegation, but by the time the Iranians agreed to our terms, it was less than 24 hours notice and really was a logistical problem. He emphasized that the logistics were the only reason for cancelling Ahmedinejad’s visit last year. “I made it very clear at the time [..] that I disagreed with [the idea that there are some views too reprehensible to be spoken].”

Bollinger explained that academic departments, to the extent that they use university resources to invite a speaker, may do so as long as it is for an academic purpose. He said that the university’s negotiations with the Iranians were about preserving that principle. “[I’m] not interested in providing a platform [for a speaker and his views … I’m] interested in a scholarly experience.”

A SPEaK/USCC representative asked why Bollinger felt the need to speak publicly his disapproval of the content of Ahmedinejad’s speech when he made no such statements about Gilchrist last year. Bollinger responded that he had to be careful what he said about the speakers that students invite because “When I say things, it can have a chilling effect on what students do on campus.”

“I put it in a spectrum. At one end, you have [a public forum where any speaker can come and say anything]. Another end is honorary degrees. I would oppose giving an honorary degree to Ahmedinejad.”

He said that the event would be “a celebration of the university and its values.” and that protests “in a powerful way” would be welcome “short of disrupting the event itself.”

On a question about the extent to which the event is an opportunity for Ahmedinejad to glorify himself given a stage here, Bollinger explained by way of comparison to Hugo Chavez: “He [Chavez] was insisting that there be a cable connection to South America” [and so we refused because it was clear he only wanted a bully pulpit].

On Ahmedinejad: “I’m satisfied that our reasons for having him here [outweigh] his motivations.”

On why he feels the need to deliver remarks critical of Ahmedinejad at the event itself: “I think his views are so outrageous and so beyond the pale, I put this a category where I as a leader of the institution should speak about this.”

At the end of the event, Bollinger asked to take a poll, whether among the people present, we supported the principle of academic freedom. Most (but not all) hands went up.”


  1. phew  

    "I put it in a spectrum. At one end, you have [a public forum where any speaker can come and say anything]. Another end is honorary degrees. I would oppose giving an honorary degree to Ahmedinejad."

    well thank God for that!

  2. olmert

    the big question remains: will this event end up as "a celebration of the university and its values." or will it turn out to be a soapbox.

    i'm expecting this to be the later and that prezbo will be mighty embarassed

    • be that

      as it may, if that's the case then Bollinger chose to act on his oft repeated principles rather than the political expedience.

      In which case I have nothing but respect for him, and he's made me proud to be a Columbian.

  3. slightly offtopic  

    Bulliet is the shit. Had him last semester for Nobility and Civility and the man's hilariously off center.

    Oh, and you said it perfectly # 3.

  4. random  

    so who signed up to be an iranian spy?

  5. are you kidding me?!

    his "oft repeaed principles" are clearly a means (albeit possily subconcious) to encloak and justify his desire to be in the world spotlight, and therefore i am profoundly embarrased to be a Columbian today.

    • no you're kidding  

      Bollinger in the world spotlight = Columbia in the world spotlight. I happen to think he's standing on principle, but even if you don't, this gets a lot of press for Columbia. No news is bad news.

  6. What the fuck  

    was the Sikh association doing there? What the fuck??? They have nothing to do with anything! They're not even really a group! (ok, they're recognized, but really?)

  7. Jeez...  

    Prezbo probably should have made this announcment later.

    Ahmadinejad is outright wrong on most of his opinions but he should be allowed to speak.

    I can only imagine that this will turn into another Gilchrist.

    I also hope the protesters realize the Secret Service protects all international heads of state when they come to the US. It would be a hella bad idea to pull a Garcia or a Meyer (the kid who heckled Kerry at the University of Florida)

  8. why  

    was CUSJ not included in this talk?! Do we not matter?...oh

  9. at first  

    I read the end of this post's title as "Ahmadinejad tits."

  10. CJLC

    what about the journal of literary criticism? I mean, it IS critical. it will hurl underhanded metaphors of dissent at the loci of power! take ecphrasis, iran!

  11. protest  

    Hopefully LionPAC et al. will choose to do something peaceful, quiet, and noble. I'm imagining a Ghandi-esque silent protest. The last thing Iranians need to see are rabid Jewish-Americans preventing their president from speaking.

  12. app

    Is columbia paying him to come?

  13. ergh  

    "A SPEaK/USCC representative asked why Bollinger felt the need to speak publicly his disapproval of the content of Ahmedinejad's speech when he made no such statements about Gilchrist last year."

    I can't stand the comments kids feel the need to make. I really don't think it was necessary to bring that up at all.

  14. almamater

    The Sikh organization was most likely present due to the fact that the Sikh community has long been persecuted by the "Islamic Republic." You don't need to use profanity to further expose your ignorance.

  15. HAHA YES!!!!  

    I hope Ahmenadijad's presence convinces the rest of America to convert to Islam so that these proud independent Barnard women will be force to wear Hajibs and be refused all the rights that make them empowered. That would be the day, when they are forced to walk 10 feet behind me. And then homosexuals will also be stoned to death in the streets, hahahaha. I can't wait, I hope they let me throw stones at these animals too. Disgusting liberal american youth don't realize that by loving Islam they are killing the very things they cherish so much. I LOVE IT!!!! Conservative Islamic beliefs will soon reign!!!!! THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING PEOPLE!!!

    • Come to think of it,

      Aside from their thoughts on alcohol, frat boys and Ahmadinejad have quite a lot in common.

    • how has no one else

      shouted you down yet, idiot poster #21? If crazy-ass right wing nuts like you who claim to ADORE human rights would grow a brain cell (just a single one! you could all share!), you'd stop conflating all of Islam with repressive, rights-abusing governments. not the same!! not. the. same. The religion of Islam DOES NOT EQUAL the Iranian republic. good lord, read a book and attempt to learn, with your single brain cell, the subtle art of PRECISION. nuance is obviously too much to ask.

  16. Anonymous

    What ideological idiocy. Go to and read the letter from President(of Columbia U.)Bollinger explaining why they invited Ahmadinejad to speak. Ridiculous. Quote from the letter: "It should never be thought that merey to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naivete about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas". Ahmadinejad is walking into a sea of marshmellows. Dear President Bollinger: Ahmadinejad is not full of ideas. He is a facist dictator who kills our soldiers in Iraq.

  17. Anonymous

    oops. Correct address for Pres.Bollinger's B.S.letter of excuse is P.S.,do people realize some of our brave military accually attend Columbia University? B.S.Bollinger should be ashamed!!!!!!!!!

  18. David E

    In 1980, a brothel in Nevada stated that it would not serve Iranian student customers (who were still allowed in the U.S. at the time) unless those prospective johns agreed to sign a petition protesting the death sentences for prostitutes that was and still is imposed in that country.

    Therefore, we can't compare Columbia's administration to prostitutes in allowing Ahmendijahd to speak. The administration is a disgrace and much lower than the prostitutes.

  19. David E

    In light of Mr. Ahmendijahd’s visit to Columbia, lets ask him if he is cruising the nursery schools and kindergartens in NYC to find a new wife. Perfectly compatible with Ayotollah Khomeni’s teachings. Iranian law allows a girl to be married at 9 years old.

    Leader Or Exterminator? - by Parvin Darabi

    Ayatollah Khomeini's Religious Teachings on Marriage, Divorce and Relationships

    Farsi quotation from
    Khomeini's book

    Article in Farsi by Khomeini on Adultery (Humor)

    "A woman may legally belong to a man in one of two ways; by continuing marriage or temporary marriage. In the former, the duration of the marriage need not be specified; in the latter, it must be stipulated, for example, that it is for a period of an hour, a day, a month, a year, or more."

    "A man can marry a girl younger than nine years of age, even if the girl is still a baby being breastfed. A man, however is prohibited from having intercourse with a girl younger than nine, other sexual act such as forplay, rubbing, kissing and sodomy is allowed. A man having intercourse with a girl younger than nine years of age has not comitted a crime, but only an infraction, if the girl is not permanently damaged. If the girl, however, is permanently damaged, the man must provide for her all her life. But this girl will not count as one of the man's four permanent wives. He also is not permitted to marry the girl's sister."

    "A father or a paternal grandfather has the right to marry off a child who is insane or has not reached puberty by acting as its representative. The child may not annul such a marriage after reaching puberty or regaining his sanity, unless the marriage is to his manifest disadvantage."

    "Any girl who is of age, that is, capable of understanding what is in her own best interest, if she wishes to get married and is a virgin, must procure the authorization of her father or paternal grandfather. The permission of her mother or brother is not required."

    "A marriage is annulled if a man finds that his wife is afflicted with one of the seven following disabilities: madness, leprosy, eczema, blindness, paralysis with aftereffects, malformation of the urinary and genital tracts or of the genital-tract and rectum through conjoining thereof, or vaginal malformation making Coitus impossible."

    "If a wife finds out after marriage that her husband is suffering from mental illness, that he is a castrate, impotent, or has had his testicles excised, she may apply for annulment of her marriage."

    "If a wife has her marriage annulled because her husband is unable to have sexual relations with her either vaginally or anally, he must pay her as damages one-half of her mehryeh (her price) specified in the marriage contract. If the husband or wife annuls the marriage for any of the above-mentioned reasons, the man owes nothing to the woman if they have had sexual relations together; if they have not, he must pay her the full amount of the dowry."

    "A Moslem woman may not marry a non-Moslem man; nor may a Moslem man marry a non-Moslem woman in continuing marriage, but he may take a Jewish or Christian woman in temporary marriage."

    "A woman who has contracted a continuing marriage does not have the right to go out of the house without her husband's permission; she must remain at his disposal for the fulfillment of any one of his desires, and may not refuse herself to him except for a religiously valid reason. If she is totally submissive to him, the husband must provide her with her food, clothing, and lodging, whether or not he has the means to do so."

    "A woman who refuses herself to her husband is guilty, and may not demand from him food, clothing, lodging, or any later sexual relations; however, she retains the right to be paid damages if she is repudiated."

    "If a man who has married a girl who has not reached puberty possesses her sexually before her ninth birthday, inflicting traumatisms upon her, he has no right to repeat such an act with her."

    "A man who has contracted a continuing marriage may not leave his wife for so long a time as to allow her to question the validity of the marriage; however, he is not obligated to spend one night out of every four with her."

    "A husband must have sexual relations with his wife at least once in every four months."

    "A woman who has been temporarily married in exchange for a previously established dowry has no right to demand that her daily expenses be paid by her husband, even when she becomes pregnant."

    "A temporary marriage, even though only one of convenience, is nevertheless legal."

    "A man must not abstain from having sexual relations with his temporary wife for more than four months.

    "If a father (or paternal grandfather) marries off his daughter (or granddaughter) in her absence without knowing for a certainty that she is alive, the marriage becomes null and void as soon as it is established that she was dead at the time of the marriage."

    "To look upon the face and hair of a girl who has not reached puberty, if it is done without intention of enjoyment thereof, and if one is not afraid of succumbing to temptation, may be tolerated. It is however recommended that one not look upon her belly or thighs, which must remain covered."

    "To look upon the faces and hands of Jewish or Christian women, if this is not done with intention of enjoyment thereof, and if one does not fear temptation, is tolerated."

    "A woman must hide her body and her hair from the eyes of men. It is highly recommended that she also hide them from those of prepubic boys, if she suspects that they may look upon her with lust."

    "If a man is called upon, for medical reasons, to look upon a woman other than his wife and to touch her body, he is permitted to do so,but if he can give such care by only looking at the body he must not touch it, and if he can give it by only touching, he must not look at it."

    "A woman who becomes pregnant as a result of adultery must not have an abortion. If a man commits adultery with an unmarried woman, and subsequently marries her, the child born of that marriage will be a bastard unless the parents can be sure it was conceived after they were married."

    "A child born of an adulterous father is legitimate."

    "The best person to breast-feed a newborn baby it its own mother. It is preferable that she not ask to be paid for such service, but that her husband pay her for it of his own free will. If the sum the mother asks for is greater than that charged by a wet nurse, the husband is free to take the child from its mother and turn it over to the wet nurse."

    "A man who repudiates his wife must be of sound mind and past the age of puberty. He must do so of his own free will and without any constraint; therefore, if the formula for divorce is spoken in jest the marriage is not annulled."

    "A woman temporarily married, say, for a month or a year, has her marriage automatically annulled at the end of that time, or at any other time when the husband releases her from the balance of her engagement. It is not necessary for this that there be any witnesses, or that the woman have had her period."

    "A woman who has not yet reached the age of nine or a menopausal woman may remarry immediately after divorce, without waiting the hundred days that are otherwise required."

    "A woman who has had her ninth birthday, or who has not yet entered menopause, must wait for three menstrual periods after her divorce before being allowed to remarry. If a woman who has not reached her ninth birthday or who has not entered menopause gets temporarily married, she must, at the end of the contract or when the husband has released her from part of it, wait two menstrual periods or forty-five days before marrying again."

    "If the father or paternal grandfather of a boy has him marry a woman for a temporary marriage, he may prematurely cancel it in the boy's interest, even if the marriage was contracted before the boy reached the age of puberty. If, for example, a fourteen-year-old boy has been married off to a woman for a period of two years, they may return her freedom to the woman before this time has run its course; but a continuing marriage cannot be broken in this way."

    "If a man repudiates his wife without informing her of it, and continues to meet her expenses for a period of, say, a year, and at the end of that time informs her that he got a divorce a year earlier and shows her proof of it, he may require that she return to him anything he has bought or given her during that time, provided that she has not used it up or consumed it, in which case he cannot demand its return."

    "If a child dies within the mother's womb and it is a danger to her life to leave it there, it must be extracted in the easiest way possible; it can. if need be, cut into pieces; this should be done by the woman's husband or a midwife."

    "A woman who wishes to pursue her studies toward the end of being able to earn her living through respectable work, and who has a male teacher, may do so if she keeps her face covered and has no contact with men; but if-that is inevitable, and religious and moral tenets are thus undermined, she must give up her studies. Girls and boys who attend coeducational classes in grammar schools, high schools, universities, or other teaching establishments, and who, in order to legalize such a situation, wish to contract a temporary marriage may do so without the permission of their fathers. The same applies if the boy and girl are in love but hesitate to ask for such permission."

    (Teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution)

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.