MEMRI has publicized a clip from the Islamic Republic’s Press TV which shows American professors in Tehran for an Occupy Wall Street conference. A Press TV correspondent interviews three American professors: Brooklyn College’s Alex Vitale, Fordham University’s Heather Gautney, and City University of New York’s John Hammond.
Unasked—and hitherto unanswered—is the source of the funding for the Tehran jaunt. The City University of New York (CUNY) is, of course, a public college, and Brooklyn College is part of the CUNY system. Did New York taxpayers foot the bill for Vitale and Hammond’s trip to Iran? CUNY’s administrators can plead academic freedom, but that should not absolve them from transparency. If CUNY departments and finances were not involved, then who footed the bill for the trip and how was the selection of the professors made? In the past, that would be the Alavi Foundation’s job. Perhaps they are now back at the job, or perhaps the Islamic Republic has found a new engine for its propaganda.