An update on SIPA and Cablegate

Since the post I wrote a few days ago — about Columbia's SIPA warning students looking for government jobs not to publicly link to Wikileaks — got so much attention, it's only fair to give an update. Columbia has come out as pro-Wikileaks, saying it backed freedom of information. I don't think that was ever in doubt, since the email only gave advice to students considering a government career. Still, they have a good position:

 

Now, SIPA Dean John H. Coatsworth has clarified the school’s policy and issued a ringing endorsement of free speech and academic freedom.
“Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution,” Coatsworth wrote in an e-mail to the SIPA community Monday morning (full e-mail message below). “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.”
SIPA Professor Gary Sick, the prominent Middle East expert who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan, went even further in repudiating the memo.
“If anyone is a master’s student in international relations and they haven’t heard of WikiLeaks and gone looking for the documents that relate to their area of study, then they don’t deserve to be a graduate student in international relations,” Sick told Wired.com in an interview.
Still, the school says it will pass on any official State Department WikiLeaks guidelines, if and when it gets them.
Over the weekend State Dept. spokesperson P.J. Crowley denied that there is a formal policy warning students against reading, linking or discussing the WikiLeaks cable online. SIPA’s original warning attributed the no-commenting on the released cables to an unnamed State Department alumnus.

Now, SIPA Dean John H. Coatsworth has clarified the school’s policy and issued a ringing endorsement of free speech and academic freedom.
“Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution,” Coatsworth wrote in an e-mail to the SIPA community Monday morning (full e-mail message below). “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.”
SIPA Professor Gary Sick, the prominent Middle East expert who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan, went even further in repudiating the memo.
“If anyone is a master’s student in international relations and they haven’t heard of WikiLeaks and gone looking for the documents that relate to their area of study, then they don’t deserve to be a graduate student in international relations,” Sick told Wired.com in an interview.
Still, the school says it will pass on any official State Department WikiLeaks guidelines, if and when it gets them.
Over the weekend State Dept. spokesperson P.J. Crowley denied that there is a formal policy warning students against reading, linking or discussing the WikiLeaks cable online. SIPA’s original warning attributed the no-commenting on the released cables to an unnamed State Department alumnus.

Incidentally, do read Gary Sick's blog for his devastating take on the affair: Am I A Criminal?