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Grinding the Wheels of Censorship at Emory By: David Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 17, 2002

Emory University is a private college in Atlanta. It is a quality school and a civilized place. Its president, William Chace, is a moderate among administrators. But like all other top-tier universities known to me it is also a bastion of the Democratic Party and the political left. Conservative students are second class citizens subject to ridicule if they don’t keep their mouths shut. In class, professors crack snide jokes about the President as a matter of course and post political jokes about Republicans and Israel on their office doors as a matter of convenience. This is an abuse of the academic freedom students who are thus warned not to reveal what they actually think. But it would not occur to anyone to protest it — not the conservative students, who are overly polite, nor the handful of conservative professors, who are resigned to the abuse as an established routine of academic life.

On October 9, I spoke at Emory at the invitation of the College Republicans. My speech was paid for by the student government (an unusual occurrence) even though it was half the fee paid to Aaron Magruder an African American cartoonist who spoke at Duke last spring and noted that 90% of the country supported a war on America’s terrorist attackers and hoped that “the other 10% were black.” Magruder spoke on the anniversary of 9/11.

I was the first stand alone conservative speaker invited to Emory since 1998, when Ward Connerly was hooted off the stage by the campus left. My appearance therefore had implications beyond myself and a symbolic resonance before I had even uttered a word. The political left understood this. In fact, although I was not aware of this until I got there, the left had already identified me as a threat and Candace Bacchus, the head of the Black Student Alliance, had approached the College Republicans to make sure I wasn’t going to talk about reparations or anything touching on race relations. If a conservative was going to actually come behind the campus Iron Curtain, he would have to obey the ground rules. Bacchus sent out an email alert to her followers urging them to attend speech and monitor what I had to say. There was a method in this which became apparent as soon as I had finished.

My speech was billed as “Political Bias in American Unversities,” a subject I had discussed at a similar appearance at Furman College in South Carolina two nights before. Of course, my speech at Furman and then at Emory discussed my reparations campaign at length. How could it not, since the censorship of my reparations ad exposed the disturbing power of the totalitarian left on college campuses as had no other incident before? Notwithstanding that, I had crossed the line as far as the Emory left was concerned by speaking on a subject they had embargoed.

As soon as I was gone, Candace Bacchus fired off another letter, this time to the President and other university authorities and the College Republicans. The letter (which follows my reply below) called my speech an outrage. It described the security provided by the university as specifically directed at African American students “to tame us,” and accused me of insulting, mocking and humiliating Latin American, Arab and African American students. (I had in fact criticized reparations, condemned suicide bombers and made disparaging things about Fidel Castro’s repressive regime. Bacchus demanded a public apology from the College Republicans and the refund of the student monies paid to me as an honorarium for my speech.

This letter was bid to humble and stigmatize college Republicans, to make it impossible for a conservative to speak on campus unmuzzled by conditions imposed by the left and to silence any campus opposition to the Black Student Alliance and its political agendas. It displayed the intellectual thuggery of the campus left in all its glory – wave the bloody shirt, whine about victimization, stigmatize your opponents and demand subservience to the party line. This is the mentality behind the campus reparations campaign, the campus opposition to America’s war to defend itself, the pledges of solidarity with Palestinian terrorists and the anti-Israel divestment movement. It will be interesting to see what happens at Emory — and important as well.

My letter to the Emory President William Chace and the Emory Community:

I have received a copy of the letter sent by Candace Bacchus to Emory students, faculty, and administrators, which has to be the most Orwellian communication it has ever been my privilege to have inspired.

I should begin by noting that I am not in the habit of agreeing to confine myself to politically acceptable topics when I come to a college campus – even to please those who pay lip service to free speech while threatening consequences to anyone who tries to exercise it.

Even when I organized a conference at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, in the years when Poland was ruled by a Communist dictatorship, I did not submit my proposed remarks for approval by the authorities of the police state. It didn't occur to me therefore to seek Ms. Bacchus' approval before delivering my remarks at Emory on October 9th.

I did ask for security because — as I indicated in the introduction to my speech — I have been the target of a national hate campaign by campus leftists since attempting to place my ads opposing reparations in the spring of 2001. My appearances at more than a dozen universities that semester were protested by left-wing demonstrators whom university administrators familiar with their antics thought dangerous enough to assign significant campus security personnel to protect me and those who came to listen to what I had to say. At the University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Berdahl in fact assigned 30 campus police officers of his own accord to keep order at the event. At the University of Michigan where I spoke last spring to 1,000 students, the university administration assigned 12 armed guards and a German shepherd. This was, as I said at the time, a disgrace to the university community, but it was the radicals who bore responsibility for the outrage not those who wanted to hear another point of view.

I was gratified to discover that Emory has a more civilized campus than many universities I am familiar with and that the security I requested proved to be unnecessary. This is a credit to President Chace and his administration, one of whose deans was a cordial host at my appearance.

I requested the security because, as I also explained in my talk, my friend Betty Van Patter was murdered by the Black Panther Party and (as I did not feel the need to make public that evening) the Black Panther who ordered her murder lives in Atlanta and is active among the supporters of former Black Panther and convicted cop-killer, El Al-Jamin, a.k.a. H. Rap Brown.

Even though it is both absurd and disturbing that Ms. Bacchus should arrogate to her group the right to control (and suppress) ideas which an invited speaker might want to discuss, she is absolutely wrong that I strayed from my topic that evening by referring to reparations and related issues.

My topic was political bias in the university. The nationwide effort to suppress my views on this subject by 1) refusing to print my ad;~2) obstructing my campus appearances; 3) stealing copies of college papers that did print the ad; and 4) intimidating those who printed the ad or supported my free speech rights is obviously a prime example of the political bias that exists on college campuses and the intimidation (by name-calling and physical threats) that goes with it. It would be impossible for me to speak about political bias on campus without discussing the reactions of leftist campus leaders like Ms. Bacchus to my ad.

Nor is this an idiosyncratic view of mine. There were 400 press articles on the reparations episode, including editorials and commentaries in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsweek and The Chicago Tribune. It is safe to say that every one of them addressed the free speech issue and deplored the tactics of would-be campus censors.

As at other schools, the tactic of the intolerant Emory radicals is to attack not me but their vulnerable campus peers who provided me with a platform. I note that Ms. Bacchus' letter is not addressed to me, but is bristling with accusations towards the students who invited me and who had absolutely nothing to do with what I had to say. For the record, I did not inform them beforehand as to what my remarks would be, and if they asked me, I would have refused to tell them. It is very basic to a free society and to a university worthy of the name that ideas not be cleared by self-appointed authorities over what others are allowed to hear.

As she notes in her letter Ms. Bacchus sent out an email before my appearance which was an invitation to her minions to monitor my speech. She is clearly upset not because I "disrupt[ed] the already fragile social environment" on campus as her present letter claims, but because she was unsuccessful in controlling the contents of my speech whose ideas challenged hers. Since she presumed — mistakenly as it turns out — that the subject of campus bias would not include remarks about intolerant attitudes like hers, there was, as she puts it, "no plausible reason" for the Black Student Alliance "to call for protest." Obviously, if I had proposed reparations as my topic, she would have fought tooth and nail to prevent me from receiving any funds for my talk (this has happened at many schools) and would have organized a protest to dissuade people from listening to what I had to say.

The argument for the suppression of speech has been set by the proponents of discredited campus speech codes. Apparently sticks and stones can break my bones but words can actually "wound." I am therefore a threat to the campus community itself — or, as the Polish Communist regime would have said, an "enemy of the people."

I believe my speech was recorded, so that the charge that I publicly insulted, humiliated and mocked African American students (and apparently Arab and Latin American students too), can be seen to be a malicious fabrication. I did condemn suicide bombing and mention that Fidel Castro was a sadistic dictator (but then the Professor of Latin American studies who was present and is himself Hispanic took time out to come up to the platform afterwards to thank me for my remarks). Of course, there are ideologically obsessed individuals who will regard any dissent from their pieties as insult, mockery and humiliation, but that is their problem, or at least should be.

The problem facing the Emory community now is Ms. Bacchus' letter with its outrageous demand that her political group is owed an apology by Daniel Hauck and the College Republicans who had nothing to do with my remarks. Interestingly, Ms. Bacchus had a microphone that evening and did not demand an apology from me. But I will take the opportunity of this letter to demand one from her.

This is not about hurt feelings (and if it is, someone needs to grow up). It is about the political control of public speech, and thus about the funds available to pay for public speakers, at Emory. As I indicated in my remarks, I am the first stand-alone conservative speaker to be invited to Emory since Ward Connerly was virtually driven off the stage by Ms. Bacchus' predecessors some four years ago. In the interim, a sizeable cohort of radical speakers has been invited to Emory and paid handsomely for their divisive and insensitive remarks. Aaron McGruder who is notorious for opinions offensive to most Americans was invited to attack this country on the anniversary of 9/11. This hardly indicates sensitivity on the part of those who invited him to the allegedly fragile social environment of the Emory community. Where was Ms. Bacchus' outrage then?

Ms. Bacchus' thinly veiled and extremely offensive accusation that my talk was racist (or as she ever so diplomatically puts it, "ventured into the sensitive area of racism") is the staple of what I have called the racial McCarthyism of campus extremists. "Racist" is a smear word — a verbal intimidation that is used to silence opposition to radical agendas, such as the view held by Ms. Bacchus that speakers she disagrees with need to practice self-censorship, and that if they refuse to do so their hosts must be punished.

The only moment in the entire evening that could be described as "venturing into the sensitive area of racism" was when members of Ms. Bacchus' group indicated by groans that they had no respect for the fifty years I had put into the civil rights movement. ("You may disagree with me," I said — or words to this effect -- "but you should respect the fact that I fought for you and that

what I have to say reflects my commitment. ") I still cannot explain the hooting unless it is because they dismissed my efforts as coming from someone who is white.

To sum up, it is apparent to me that Ms. Bacchus's Emory education has been deficient in the area of tolerance for viewpoints she disagrees with, but may not be able to dispute. I hope that members of the Emory community to whom her letter is addressed will ignore it. I further hope that they will address the real problem by taking steps to see that speaker funds are divided more equitably in the future, so that more conservative speakers are invited to campus. Perhaps if this happens, Ms. Bacchus and her followers will get used to the fact that we live in a democracy where there are other points of view of than hers that need to be respected.


David Horowitz

Candace Bacchus’ letter to the Emory Community following my speech:

We are concerned about the occurrences on the evening of October 9, 2002. At the request of the College Republicans, David Horowitz gave a lecture in Glenn Memorial Auditorium at 7pm. Upon notice of his appearance, an email was sent to the members of the Black Student Alliance (BSA) and the presidents of various cultural organizations asking them to come to Horowitz's lecture. It was my honest hope that students would be able to attend the lecture and realize that it is possible for a controversial speaker to come to campus and speak solely on the topic at hand, which in this case was to be "Political Bias on College and University Campuses." In no way was the email intended or interpreted as a call for protest — for at that moment, the Black Student Alliance had no plausible reason to do so.

Upon arriving at Glenn Memorial Auditorium, African-American students were met by security guards questioning their entry with backpacks, signs that read "No Signs/Banners," ground rules for discussion/debate, moderators holding the microphone during the short Q & A session, and glares from community members and Emory students alike. We ask you, students of this University, have you ever visited a lecture on this campus to witness the use of security guards for the speaker, signs, ground rules? We are certain the answer is no. But the moment that African-American students express an interest in observing a controversial speaker not of their own invitation, these University policies are doubly enforced to tame us. In addition to the environment set before us, Horowitz confirmed our fear of his appearance by offering unsolicited commentary on the issue of reparations and the state of Black America.

To clarify for readers, the Black Student Alliance believes that the University is and shall remain the place for free speech and scholarly discourse, but no speaker should visit this campus and willingly disrupt the already fragile social environment that exists at the University. Over the past year, the Black Student Alliance has worked diligently to mprove the social climate at Emory and to open dialogue on issues of race, diversity, and sexuality and while doing so, has strategically chosen speakers whom, after dubious research and conversations, we felt would respect all students and promote healthy debate. Wednesday night's activities exhibited the downfall of the very systems that the Black Student Alliance has made every effort to honor: the purpose of College Council funding and use of speaker's reports, responsibility and concern for the larger student body, and more importantly, the significance of responsible leadership.

Mr. Daniel Hauck and the College Republicans have allowed for the demise of these unspoken rules and have set a horrible precedent. The organization misled the College Council and myself about Horowitz's lecture and was responsible for providing Horowitz with the fuel for breech of the original topic agreed upon. Furthermore, they have isolated themselves as an organization instead of fostering cohesiveness in the midst of is agreement. This has gone far beyond liberal vs. conservative politics and has ventured into the sensitive area of racism. Mr. Daniel Hauck and Dr. Harvey Klehr (Political Science) allowed for the public insult, mockery, and humiliation of African-American students and their organization for the sake of preserving conservative speech.

The Black Student Alliance holds the College Republicans and Professor Harvey Klehr responsible for the events of October9, 2002 and demands, on behalf of the following parties, the immediate issuance of a formal apology to: the Black Student Alliance and its members, Arab and Arab-American students, and Latin American students for allowing their public insult, as well as to the larger student body for the misuse of student activity funds, the College Council and its legislators for misleading them to vote for funding David
Horowitz's appearance, and President Chace and his Office for making futile any efforts previously gone into the Year of Reconciliation. In addition, we further petition for the reallocation of all funds provided by the College Council of Emory University for David Horowitz back to the College Council budget.

Submitted by the Black Student Alliance at Emory University
Candace Y. Bacchus, President

cc: President William M. Chace, Emory University
Provost Howard O. Hunter, Emory University
Dr. John Ford, Campus Life
Dean Nagueyalti Warren, President's Commission on the Status of Minorities
Dean Vera Rorie, Office of Multicultural Programs and Services
Rev. Bridgette D. Young, Advisor
Ms. Purvi Patel, College Council
Mr. Christopher Richardson, Student Government Association
Dr. Harvey Klehr, Political Science
Mr. Daniel Hauck, College Republicans

David Horowitz is the founder of The David Horowitz Freedom Center and author of the new book, One Party Classroom.

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