Columbia University likes to invite world leaders to campus when they are in New York City for United Nations meetings, and the university has defended invitations to some particularly controversial leaders -- such as Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who appeared there in 2007. Columbia officials say that the university benefits from exposing students to world leaders, however reprehensible their ideas may be, and that the visits are about learning, not endorsing a particular point of view.
To begin an article by saying that American higher education is in a state of crisis would be -- at least to most readers of this site -- so familiar as to border on tautology. "Well, sure," the reader can be imagined thinking. "But is she referring to the years of economic turmoil and drastic budget cuts? The adjunctification of the faculty? The neglect of the liberal arts and humanities? The watering down of academic standards?"