Wednesday, January 18, 2006

MilVets response to Professor De Genova, Apr 2003

Commentary: This is the April 4, 2003 letter we addressed to Columbia President Lee Bollinger and Columbia University in response to remarks made by Professor Nicholas De Genova on March 26, 2003 at a faculty teach-in in Low Library. [press release]

U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University

To President Bollinger and the Columbia University community:

As veterans of the United States armed forces and students of Columbia University, we unanimously find the comments made by Professor Nicholas De Genova at the March 26th teach-in to be unacceptable. We have friends, colleagues, and family currently serving in the armed forces in Iraq. Additionally, many of us are actively serving in the U.S. armed forces or may be recalled to active duty. Professor De Genova’s suggestion that soldiers “frag” or kill their fellow soldiers is more than a mere rhetorical device protected by free speech: it is an open invitation to murder. Similarly, his call for a million replays of the horrific events of Mogadishu, in which 18 American soldiers and unknown hundreds of Somalis were killed, demonstrates his contempt and disregard for human life.

Professor De Genova’s comments would not have been tolerated had they been directed at anyone other than the men and women of the American armed forces. It is difficult to imagine that Columbia’s administration would allow a faculty member to make similar hate-filled statements toward any other social or ethnic group without taking disciplinary action. Professor De Genova’s call for violence encourages actions that endanger Americans who are not only soldiers but also Columbia students.

We therefore believe that the university should formally request from Professor De Genova a public apology and retraction of his remarks, addressed to the Columbia community. In addition, we ask that the administration issue an official condemnation of Professor De Genova’s comments and issue him a letter of reprimand or similar administrative punishment. Because of the nature of his statements, their effect on students and service members, and the fact that he made them at an event on Columbia’s campus with university sanction, we believe that this is an appropriate and reasonable course of action.


The undersigned members of the United States Military Veterans of Columbia University:

Carl Beal, GSAS, USMC
Iman Bhullar, GS, Army
Jedidiah Celima, GS, USMC
Eric Chen, GS, Army
James Davis, GS, USMC
Scott Davis, GSB, USMC
Mick Devine, GS, USMC
Oscar Escano, GS, Army
Shane Hachey, GS, Army
Danny Han, CC, Army
Frederick Hawkins, GS, Navy
Brian Kessens, GSB, Army
Hee Ann Kim, GS, Army
Kurt Krummenacker, GSB, Army
Jeff Kwon, GS, Army
Stephen Lacey, GSAS, Army
Craig Lipman, SIPA, Navy
Alexander Martinez, CU, Army
James McDonald, CU, Army
David Metzler, GS, Navy
Sean Mullin, Film, Army
Edwin Pulido, GS, Navy
Richard Space, Jr., GS, USMC
Jeff Sult, TC, USMC
David Swift, CU, Navy
Robert Tarulli, GSB, Army
Wayne Thorsen, GS, Army
James Vilaichit, GS, USMC
Stephen Walsh, CE, Army
William Ward, GSB, Army
Justin White, GS, USMC
Paul Yates, GS, Navy


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