Uncovered by The Lede on Saturday, this university-wide memo was sent out at Columbia University last week:
From: “Office of Career Services”
We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.
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. 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.
Office of Career Services
Certainly Columbia will produce plenty of ambassadors and politicians, and the school surely believes it has their best interests in mind. But, c’mon: Telling university students to ignore rather than discuss a major current event (and one which yields a lot to say regarding the college-set’s favorites: journalism, technology, and politics) seems counter to the goals of most universities. Honing in on Facebook, Twitter, and social networking sites as the specific place to ignore WikiLeaks speaks to a tired (if sometimes justified) fear of the Internet, a thing most college students find pretty vital. Already one professor rebelled, blogging extensively about WikiLeaks that same day and linking to his favorite pieces about it. And the Village Voice has dubbed the e-mail downright “fascist.” In any case, this sounds like a solid excuse for some good ol’ fashioned, cigarette-smoking, topless protesting. Or else, NYU’s got the uptown kids beat in that department.