Friday, December 10, 2010

Government information vs. Freedom. Round... who knows.

Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs Withdraws Its Warning to Students About Leaked Diplomatic Cables

Last week, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Office of Career Services sent an email to students saying that an alumnus who works at the State Department had recommended that current students not tweet or post links to WikiLeaks because doing so could hurt their career prospects in government service since many of the diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks are classified. That warning has filtered down to some law school career services professionals. Boston University School of Law’s career services office, for example, issued a similar warning [text of email via ATL].

The Dean of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, John H. Coatsworth, has now withdrawn its warning to the School’s students. Quoting from his email:

Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution. 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. The WikiLeaks documents are accessible to SIPA students (and everyone else) from a wide variety of respected sources, as are multiple means of discussion and debate both in and outside of the classroom.

Should the U.S. Department of State issue any guidelines relating to the WikiLeaks documents for prospective employees, SIPA will make them available immediately

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