President Bollinger: The No-Censorship Approach to Life

Last week, Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger '71LAW published "The No-Censorship Approach to Life" in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Reflecting comments he made at fall Convocation, President Bollinger lays out how the University lives by First Amendment principles and how students today grapple with ideas.

This is one of several recent pieces penned by President Bollinger, demonstrating his thought leadership on the role of the University in society today, free speech, affirmative action, and Columbia's place in the broader world. Read on for additional articles from President Bollinger.

"Our essential mission remains to invite students to join us in these special qualities of intellect that never stop questioning, whether it's society's conventional wisdom or their own beliefs." - Lee C. Bollinger

                 The No-Censorship Approach to LifeChronicle of Higher Education, September 18, 2016

"Higher education and all of American society would benefit immeasurably if the Court were to unite in leading a more meaningful discussion of diversity." - Lee C. Bollinger

What Once Was Lost Must Now Be Found: Rediscovering an Affirmative Action Jurisprudence Informed by the Reality of Race in AmericaHarvard Law Review Forum, April 12, 2016

"Each of us bears a responsibility to confront the threat of climate change, enlist others in this cause, and expand understanding of the problem and the multifarious responses required to address it." - Lee C. Bollinger

Statement on the University's Sustainability Principles; September 12, 2016

"But the most important task for universities in the months and years ahead is one that we are uniquely well suited to perform: to help society at large — not only our own campus communities — better understand the painful and still-unresolved historical context within which the need for affirmative action exists." - Lee C. Bollinger

Affirmative Action Isn't Just a Legal Issue. It's Also a Historical OneThe New York Times Op-Ed, June 24, 2016

"Without sustained advocacy dedicated to defending uninhibited expression and a free press, we are at risk of experiencing a steady erosion of these bedrock freedoms. It is therefore a precarious moment for the First Amendment." - Lee C. Bollinger & Alberto Ibargüen

Defending a Free Press in a Digital AgeTime, May 17, 2016



These pieces, in addition to other public press featuring Columbia faculty statements, are delivered regularly within the Alumni Community. Alumni can log in with their UNI at and join the Columbia in the News group (under Discuss). Group settings can be customized to receive an email digest of curated clips in your inbox daily or weekly. We invite you to join the group, stay up to date with thought leadership emerging from Columbia, comment on posts, and add your own.

Here are just a few examples of clips from September press posted in the Columbia in the News group:

  • THE BOSTON GLOBE, Opinion: Decoding the federal budget
    Sept 18, 2016 - There is nothing more important for our economic future — or less understood — than the federal budget. It allocates around 20 percent of our national output to such crucial priorities as health, education, science, the environment, and national defense.

  • THE NEW YORKER: Twenty-First-Century Alchemists
    Sept 26, 2016 - The Making and Knowing Lab is run by Columbia's Center for Science and Society. Its recipe re-creations take place in an old chemistry lab. The goal is to help science historians understand the materials that craftsmen used centuries ago, as well as the technologies and techniques that were available at the dawn of the scientific revolution.

  • THE GUARDIAN: A better economic plan for Japan
    Sept 15, 2016 - Japan is ahead of the curve in curbing population growth, and productivity has been increasing. Growth in output per working-age person, especially since 2008, has been higher than in the United States, and much higher than in Europe. 

  • WBUR (Boston Public Radio): The Shifting Meanings Of Our Evolving Modern Language
    Sept 13, 2016 - Linguist John McWhorter explores how the meaning of words change dramatically over time, and why we should embrace this.

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