As TPM reported on Friday, Columbia University’s School of Public and International Affairs sent an email to its students warning them not to link to or comment on the Wikileaks cables if they plan on trying to get a job at the State Department after graduation.
The email was sent by the office of career services and, not surprisingly, caused a stir. Now Threat Level reports that the school has sent a second email to students reassuring them that Columbia fully supports the freedom of expression.
“Freedom of information and expression is a core value of our institution,” wrote the school’s dean, John Coatsworth. “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.”
The original email detailed the advice of an unnamed alumnus who now works for State.
“The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter,” it read. “Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.”
The new guidance from Coatsworth notes that the school will notify students if the State Department issues any official guidance for students.