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Horowitz Calls For Reformation at Lehigh University By: Jeff Schogol
Express-Times | Tuesday, March 29, 2005

BETHLEHEM -- Conservative pundit David Horowitz said he has talked to a lawyer about possibly suing Lehigh University for having documentary filmmaker Michael Moore speak last fall.

Moore, a left-wing activist, came to Lehigh shortly before the election on his Slacker Uprising Tour to get Americans who do not normally vote to oust President Bush.

Horowitz spoke to about 100 people Wednesday at Lehigh University. He said having Moore speak was a violation of the university's tax exemption.

That exemption prohibits the university from having political groups recruiting on campus during a speech by a highly partisan figure shortly before an election, Horowitz said.

In an e-mail Thursday, university spokeswoman Tracy Muldoon Moran said Horowitz has not formally contacted Lehigh University about the Michael Moore speech.

Muldoon wrote that having Moore speak was not a violation of the university's tax exempt status.

"In fact, invitations extended by the university community to guest speakers with diverse viewpoints, including Mr. Horowitz and Mr. Moore, are in fulfillment of the university's nonprofit, tax-exempt educational mission," she wrote.

Horowitz said his threat of a lawsuit is not intended to harm Lehigh University. "I don't desire to destroy Lehigh; I desire to reform it," he explained.

The thrust of his speech was that professors should not be thrusting their personal political beliefs on students.

In one case, a student at another university was given a D for disagreeing with a pro-life professor, he said.

"To have a professor tell you what to think destroys your opportunity to learn anything," Horowitz said.

In his 19 years of formal education, Horowitz said, he never had a teacher or professor who espoused a political opinion.

A former communist, Horowitz said he had no problem getting along with his professors at Columbia during the McCarthy era.

But times have changed, he said.

Now the Lehigh University biology department displays political cartoons that bash President Bush, Horowitz said.

He said Lehigh students should be outraged at the biology department faculty who are "trying to inflict on you their prejudices."

Horowitz also blasted liberals, whom he said suppress conservative thought by labeling conservatives "racists" and "Nazis."

"I have come to the conclusion that the Left is a totalitarian political formation," Horowitz said.

He attributed the lack of conservative professors at colleges such as Lehigh to an "informal blacklist." Moran called this assertion a "false and uninformed" statement.

The university does not discriminate against individuals based on personal characteristics and encourages the free exchange of ideas, as evidenced by Horowitz's appearance, she wrote.

"Lehigh has an outstanding and accomplished faculty who represent and freely express a diversity of viewpoints across a wide range of academic disciplines. In fact, it is this diversity that provides a vibrant intellectual environment in which our students can grow and learn," she wrote.

Horowitz did not disguise his rancor for Democrats, whom he said have their "boot heels on the necks of poor people."

He said Democrats say they stick up for the underdog when in fact they control the failing school systems in which students do not learn to read or write.

The school systems have become a patronage system for teachers unions, which do not care about students, he said.

Alex Gorsskurth of Progressive Student Alliance challenged Horowitz on the matter, saying the problem in Pennsylvania is that education is based on property taxes, thus poorer neighborhoods do not have a lot of money for schools.

"It's not money that is the problem," Horowitz countered.

He said the problem is teachers get jobs for life after two years of employment then get raises every year simply for showing up, creating a system that is impossible to fix.

Horowitz also sparred with some students after saying people come to the United States for better lives.

A student asked if immigrants from Haiti who now drive taxicabs in the United States are better off.

"It's a hundred times better than life in Haiti," Horowitz answered.

Student Reed Fornoff then asked if Horowitz had ever been to Haiti.

"Who are we as a culture to judge someone else?" Fornoff asked.

Horowitz replied that the Haitians who have left home for America have already made a judgment about their native country.

Jeff Schogol writes for the Express-Times.

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