"Hundreds of Jordanians Set Up Protest in Capital," is the headline over an Associated Press news article from Amman. It begins, "Hundreds of Jordanians set up a protest camp in a main square in the capital on Thursday to press demands for the ouster of the prime minister and wider public freedoms." It goes on, "Jordan's opposition also want to strip the king of some of his powers, specifically in appointing the prime minister. Instead, they want the premier to be elected by a popular vote."
You might think this would be the sort of thing that Columbia University, whose Middle East Research Center is based in Amman, would have an interest in weighing in on. Yet the center describes itself as "under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah," the king's wife. "Under the patronage" is a polite way of saying what a list of all Columbia foreign grants, gifts, and contracts for $100,000 or more for the academic year 2009-2010, obtained by FutureOfCapitalism.com from the New York State Department of Education, discloses more specifically — that Columbia received $646,740.87 from "Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah," another $590,784 from the queen's teacher's academy, and another $1,376,485.74 from the Kingdom of Jordan and its scientific research fund.
By the standards of Arab autocracies, Jordan is relatively benign. But still you have a country with per capita GDP of about $5,300 giving more than $2 million a year (if you count the queen's money as government money, which is a big "if") to Columbia. Columbia's $1,753,984-a-year president, Lee Bollinger, whose moral sensibilities are so finely attuned that he didn't want to allow the U.S. military to recruit on campus unless it dropped its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, apparently has fewer compunctions when it comes to accepting the patronage of the government against which protesters are massing in the streets of Amman.
Anyway, if American policymakers or the press are looking to Columbia professors for any advice for what to do about the protests in Jordan, they might want to discount whatever advice they get for Columbia's $2 million a year in funding from the Jordanian government against which the protesters are gathered.