Contrary to the Columbia Daily Spectator’s top headline, “College Republicans plan to invite Ahmadinejad,” the Iranian president has not been invited to speak at Columbia by CUCR. Spec quotes from a supposed letter of invitation from CUCR to the Iranian dictator as a source. Bwog too received this “leak” on February 14th, and confirmed its falsity at the time with CUCR board members. The Spectator article seemingly quotes CUCR President Will Prasifka (CC ’12) in response to the leaked Ahmadinejad letter—however, his statement was made several weeks ago and in response to the Gilchrist drama, CUCR sources have confirmed to Bwog. [Update, Tuesday 6 pm: Bwog has since learned that when Spec asked Will for comment on Ahmadinejad on Sunday, he sent them a statement identical to the one he sent a few weeks ago about Gilchrist. Spec did not recycle his older statement.]

Update: CUCR has released the following statement, confirming that the group never intended to invite Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia.

As Executive Director Tyler Trumbach has already made clear to the Spectator, the Columbia University College Republicans does not—nor has ever intended to—invite Iranian President Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia. The CUCR remains opposed to Ahmadinejad’s hostile and intolerant regime. Any other rumors are factually inaccurate and in direct contradiction to previous statements and positions of the CUCR.

Spectator’s coverage would be almost humorous (“president of a great nation”? “two-state solution in Palestine”?!) if not for its potential to harm our club’s relations with valued donors and potential speakers. The CUCR requests that Spectator remove its egregiously false coverage and focus on reporting the facts.

Nashoba Santhanam
Regent Director of Creative Affairs
Columbia University College Republicans

The “leaked” CUCR email sent to Bwog and Spec:

2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the United Nations
622 Third Ave
New York, NY 10017

14 Februrary 2012

Dear Esteemed President Ahmadinejad محمود احمدی‌نژاد:

It is with great honor that the Columbia University College Republicans extend to you an open invitation to speak at our university. Our group succeeds in providing an active forum for many conservative students despite much opposition at an institution well known for its liberalism.

Columbia remains an institution with limited ideological diversity, a fact that the administration has repeatedly refused to address, even in the face of increased media attention. To fill the ideological void left by the university both inside and outside the classroom, we take the initiative to invite conservative scholars, politicians, and activists in order to broaden the discussion of issues and provide students with diverse points of view so that they can be challenged to form their own opinions.

We would love to have the chance for our members to hear you speak about your feelings about American foreign policy, your experience as the president of a great nation, Iran’s role in the creation of a two-state solution in Palestine, and the important role of religion in government.

We can secure funding from private donors and foundations in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We can cover travel and security expenses up to $20,000 USD (240,300,000.00 Iranian Rial). Please accept our invitation to speak at Columbia University and help our community gain a much-needed conservative perspective at an exceptional research university. We look forward to the engaging discussion that you will bring to campus.


The Columbia University College Republicans

uninvited via PBS