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Columbia University's Leadership: Greatness to Mediocrity

a statue and columbia university sign on a building
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By    |   Wednesday, 22 May 2024 06:26 AM EDT

In late April, at Columbia University's main entrance on 116th Street and Broadway in upper Manhattan, I joined a small group of pro-Israel supporters chanting "Bring Them Home," referring to the hostages — Israelis, Americans, and other nationalities — abducted by the genocidal terrorists on Oct. 7.

A small group of pro-Hamas demonstrators were nearby, also behind barricades, and there was a robust NYPD presence.

When I asked the pro-Israeli group who was Columbia's president between 1948 and 1952, no one had a clue.

Although they were startled by "Dwight Eisenhower," I explained that many thousands of World War II veterans used the historic GI Bill to attend Columbia College and the graduate schools, including those for medicine, dentistry, business, and law.

I also noted that nearly 900,000 residents of New York City served in the U.S. armed forces during the war, including my late father and his first cousin Simon Levy, who was killed in August 1944 and is buried beneath a Jewish star in the American Military Cemetery in Brittany, France.

An official history of the Ivy League university's men in uniform documents that "more than 15,000 Columbians served in the armed forces in World War II," of whom "450 are reported to have died."

Incredibly, Columbia's Midshipmen's School "trained more than 20,000 officer candidates" between 1942 and 1945 who served in the greatest Navy in history, commanded by fleet Adm. Ernest J. King.

On June 6, 1944, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander who directed the seaborne and airborne landings of American, British, and Canadian troops on and behind the Normandy beaches.

He then led the Allied ground campaign, through seven western and central European countries, against the armies of Nazi Germany until its unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.

Between November 1942 and May 1943, Gen. Eisenhower oversaw the Allied liberations of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia; of Sicily in July and August 1943; and southern Italy the next month.

In the 1952 presidential election, Ike Eisenhower crushed Adlai Stevenson in winning 39 states and 442 electoral votes, including New York's huge 45, finally terminating the Democrats' 20-year stranglehold on the White House.

During his very successful, two-term presidency, America did not fight a major war, the economy and population boomed, and major advances in civil rights occurred.

President Eisenhower struck a critical blow against the massive Southern white resistance to public-school integration in 1957, by dispatching 101st Airborne paratroopers to protect the nine Black students courageously integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In stark contrast to Eisenhower's monumental accomplishments as a soldier, college leader, and president, Nemat "Minouche" Shafik, who was inaugurated as Columbia's first woman president on July 1, 2023, is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) mediocrity with a unexceptional scholarly record.

Born to Muslim parents in Egypt, she was 4 years old when the family immigrated to America in 1966, and she earned degrees in economics from University of Massachusetts-Amherst, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Oxford University.

However, she published only 42 research papers, as compared to the 430 published by economist Lawrence Summers, the former president of Harvard and U.S. Secretary of Treasury.

Between 1989 and 2017, Shafik's career included working as an administrator at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank of England.

Until her selection as Columbia's president in January 2023, her only full-time academic position was president of the leftist, second-rate LSE, beginning in 2017.

By contrast, Columbia is one of the world's best universities, in seventh place among U.S. News & World Report's rankings in 2022-23.

Professor Larisa Geskin, a prominent dermatologist-oncologist at Columbia Medical School, denounced President Shafik in a recent interview with an Israeli newspaper:

"She lacks a backbone. She doesn't know what to do. I don't think she's a bad or good person, she just acts like a little girl backed in a corner, covering her head with her hands."

Furthermore, on May 6, 13 federal judges sent a letter to President Shafik and Law School Dean Gillian Lester, saying they would no longer hire the school's undergraduates or law students for prestigious clerkships.

One of their justifiable criticisms is the university lacks "viewpoint diversity on the faculty and across the administration — including the admissions office."

The New York Post published an article on April 26, "Columbia's 'Ultra-liberal' Board is Packed with Dems Who Have Donated Millions to Lefty Causes."

Additionally, while five trustees have an MBA, four have a JD (including Jeh Johnson, who was President Barack Obama's secretary of Homeland Security), and one has both degrees, none is world-renowned scholar or scientist who is currently working at Columbia.

However, Columbia ranks second worldwide with 43 alumni who are Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics — and 28 of them are Jewish.

Finally, as the grateful recipient of a fantastic education in nonfiction writing from Columbia's Graduate School of the Arts in 1976-77 and as the author-educator of many articles during the past 38 years about American higher education, my unsolicited advice for the faculty, alumni, students and parents of students is to return to the magnificent leadership legacy of Dwight Eisenhower and to abandon the DEI and globalist insanity that has poisoned the institution in the 21st century.

Mark Schulte is a retired New York City schoolteacher and mathematician who has written extensively about science and the history of science. Read Mark Schulte's Reports — More Here.

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MarkSchulte
In late April, at Columbia University's main entrance on 116th Street and Broadway in upper Manhattan, I joined a small group of pro-Israel supporters chanting "Bring Them Home," referring to the hostages abducted by the genocidal terrorists on Oct. 7.
columbia university, shafik, president, dei
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2024-26-22
Wednesday, 22 May 2024 06:26 AM
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