Students Told to Avoid Wikileaks: Columbia University

The Office of Career Services at Columbia University recently circulated the following message to students in the School for International and Public Affairs:

From: Office of Career Services
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM
Subject: Wikileaks – Advice from an alum
To: “Office of Career Services (OCS)”

Hi students,

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

Hopefully the Office of Career Services at Columbia offers its students better service than this. Counseling students in the School of International and Public Affairs to willfully disengage from public debate on a major issue in international and public affairs, of course, undermines the very purpose of this institution. This lapse in judgment on the part of some individual in the Office of Career Services is, no doubt, humiliating to students and faculty at Columbia University, an institution of higher learning ostensibly committed to the core principles of academic freedom and the freedom of speech.

Given that governments have pressured Amazon, EveryDNS, and PayPal to withdraw services for Wikileaks in an attempt to drive the organization off the internet, it seems all the more important for universities, as safe havens for free thought and debate, to encourage students to engage with this critical free speech issue. Although the url has been taken down, students can still find Wikileaks at its IP address:

The complete Wikileaks diplomatic cable archive can be downloaded here:

All the Wikileaks mirror sites can be found here (along with instructions for how to mirror the site yourself):

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