[Marxism] My employer reverses itself on Wikileaks
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 6 14:12:00 MST 2010
(The Coatsworth referred to below is actually a leftist Latin
America scholar who I contacted a couple of weeks ago about
getting help in setting up a meeting for a Chiapas human rights
speaker touring the USA.)
Columbia University Walks Back Anti-WikiLeaks Advice
WASHINGTON -- Days after Columbia University's School of
International and Public Affairs (SIPA) sparked national ire by
advising students not to discuss WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter,
the school is walking back its remarks and embracing free speech.
In an email to students last week, SIPA's Office of Career
Services warned students that tweeting or posting about WikiLeaks
on Facebook could endanger their job prospects with the federal
government, according to an alumnus working at the U.S. State
"[The alumnus] recommends that you DO NOT post links to these
documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook
or through Twitter," the Office of Career Services advised
students in an email obtained last week by The Huffington Post.
"Engaging in these activities would call into question your
ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of
most positions with the federal government."
Indignant Americans took to Twitter last week to air their
reactions to the prestigious institution's chilling warning.
Over at the State Department, spokesman Philip Crowley has denied
any federal involvement in the school's guidance.
"This is not true," he wrote in an email. "We have instructed
State Department employees not to access the WikiLeaks site and
download posted documents using an unclassified network since
these documents are still classified. We condemn what Mr. Assange
is doing, but have given no advice to anyone beyond the State
Department to my knowledge."
Now SIPA's Dean, John H. Coatsworth, is reversing the advice
issued to students last week, reaffirming the school's commitment
to freedom of speech.
"Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our
institution. Thus, SIPA's position is that students have a right
to discuss and debate any information in the public arena that
they deem relevant to their studies or to their roles as global
citizens, and to do so without fear of adverse consequences," he
said in an email obtained by HuffPost.
Though the disclosure of 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables detailing
some of the country's most closely guarded secrets has received a
mixed response, the move to silence public debate on the issue
represents uncharted new territory in the federal government's
effort to put a stop to the leaks.
Douglas Almond, an associate professor of International and Public
Affairs and Economics, told HuffPost that while students should
not be discriminated against for following the WikiLeak
conversation, aspiring diplomats may appreciate being notified
about the issue.
"If I were a SIPA student considering a career in government, as
many are, I'd want to to be made aware of this potential issue,"
said Almond, who's currently on leave at Cornell University. "That
said, in my opinion it would be silly for the government to screen
future job applicants based on whether they had read these leaked
cables or their summaries in the press."
Read the original email from SIPA's Office of Career Services.
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