U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter introduces bill to cut federal funding for Columbia University

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

United States Representative Duncan Hunter

On September 26, United States Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) introduced a bill to prohibit federal grants to Columbia University in response to Columbia's decision to allow Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on campus. The legislative bill, titled "Restore Patriotism to University Campuses Act", states that "[t]hrough their invitation, Columbia University provided a public, prestigious platform on United States soil from which on September 24, 2007, President Ahmadinejad spoke and defended his wide-ranging support for terrorist activities." The bill arrived at the House of Representatives within two days after the speaking engagement.

A portion of the bill requests a denial of funds to the University, "for permitting State terrorist access to campus." According to the Council of Foreign Relations in the United States, its country's State Department has called Iran, "[the] most active state sponsor of terrorism."

Iran's parliament, in September this year, labelled the U.S. forces as terrorists.

Hunter, who is seeking the Republican Presidential nomination, argued in favor of the bill last week. "If the left-wing leaders of academia will not support our troops, they, in the very least, should not support our adversaries," he said. "By hosting President Ahmadinejad, Columbia University openly insulted the thousands of servicemen and women serving in Iraq, most of whom are direct targets of the munitions that he is sending across the Iraq-Iran border."

Prior to Ahmedinejad's speech, U.S. President George W. Bush expressed a different view, saying that Columbia's invitation "really speaks to the freedoms of the country." "I'm not so sure I'd offer the same invitation, but nevertheless, it speaks volumes about the greatness, really, of America. We're confident enough to let a person express his views," he said.


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