FRESNO STATE -- A conservative columnist
has set off a debate on numerous campuses by trying to place an advertisement
in student newspapers denouncing the idea that the United States should pay reparations
to black people to make amends for slavery.
The columnist was writer and publicist David Horowitz.
He wanted to post the paid ad in the Minnesota student Daily. It is a public
issue with views on both sides. Horrowitz opposed a public policy granting reparations.
Some campus-newspaper editors have rejected the ad, calling
it offensive. Some have printed the ad, but facing protests from minority students,
have promptly apologized for doing so.
At other universities -- including Brown University --
the student newspaper has published the ad and criticized its ideas, but refused
to apologize for letting those ideas be heard.
Minority students at Brown, angered by the newspaper's
decision to print the ad, trashed nearly every copy of one issue of the newspaper.
At Brown and elsewhere, that action has set off an emotional debate about the
values of racial sensitivity and free expression, and about the state of race
relations and liberalism on campuses.
Should student newspapers print an advertisement opposing
slavery reparations to black people? Were minority students at Brown University
justified in taking just about every copy of one issue of the student newspaper
to protest a decision to print the ad? What does the debate say about the state
of campus liberalism, race relations, and the competing values of racial sensitivity
and free expression?
The following are examples of the resulting conflict
on college campuses over diverse opinions on current issues. They are taken from
a list compiled by the Student Press Law Center, of a major student-newspaper
crisis, the theft and distruction of campus newspapers by those who would silence
student journalists. The center lists 205 such incidents since it began recording
them in 1993.
The Daily Pennsylvanian at the University
of Pennsylvania, found that 14,000 copies of an issue were stolen in April 1993
by a group called the Black Community to protest student-written columns that
criticized affirmative action and that questioned whether Martin Luther King Jr.
was a national hero.
The Red and Black at the University of Georgia,
lost 15,000 copies of its student paper that were stolen in May 1993, apparently
as a prank. After the incident, anonymous phone calls to the office of the paper
indicated that the thief had no idea that stealing papers was punishable, because,
as the caller stated, "they got away with it at Penn."
The Justice at Brandeis University, had 2,000
to 3,000 copies of the paper were stolen and destroyed in December 1993 in response
to an ad that suggested that the Holocaust did not take place.
The Kaleidoscope at the University of Alabama
at Birmingham, had nearly 5,500 copies of the student paper were stolen and thrown
into dumpsters by several Chinese students in an attempt to protect the reputation
of a Chinese professor. An article in the issue that was stolen reported on accusations
of sexual harassment against him.
The Auburn Plainsman at Auburn University, lost
10,000 of 17,000 copies of the paper stolen in November 1995; the burglars wanted
the McDonald's inserts inside, with coupons for free food. The paper reprinted
the 10,000 issues, at a cost of $3,200, to avoid having to repay $7,500 in advertising
The Daily Californian at the University of California
at Berkeley, had copies of its paper stolen six times in the 1996-97 academic
year, and once in 1997-98, each time apparently because of debates over ending
affirmative action in the state. Students who backed affirmative action
stole as many as 23,000 copies each time, arguing that the newspaper was not supporting
The Battalion at Texas A&M University, had more
than 15,000 copies of a press run of 22,000 stolen in October 1997 by students
living in campus housing, who used the papers to decorate their haunted house.
The Herald at Arkansas State University,
seven students stole 5,500 copies of the paper -- almost the entire edition --
in April 1997. Many of the students were associated with the Sigma Phi Epsilon
fraternity and hoped to prevent the campus from seeing an article about a rape
that reportedly took place at the fraternity house.
The Georgetown Academy and Georgetown Voice
at Georgetown University, in October 1998, lost 3,500 issues of The Georgetown
Academy (a conservative paper) to thieves in a misguided protest of two controversial
articles that criticized a university program encouraging tolerance for gay men
The following February, 5,000 issues of the Georgetown
Voice, were stolen to protest an editorial critical of the Turkish government;
another that advocated sex education at Georgetown; and an anonymous letter that
disclosed the nomination of a student to an all-male secret society on campus.
The Skidmore News at Skidmore College,saw the
director of admissions remove 1,200 copies of a November 1999 issue featuring
a cover story about an alleged hate crime against lesbian students.
She later apologized for the incident, which occurred
when high-school students and their parents were on the campus for a recruitment
Letter to the Bulldog
©1958-2001 The Bulldog Newspaper at Fresno
State. All rights reserved.