While college and university administrators nationwide have eased up a bit on student conservative groups, outside speakers sharing that viewpoint still run a gauntlet. Emory University, for example, sometimes looks less like National Lampoon’s “Animal House” and more like George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
“In the last ten years three members of the Clinton Administration and one member of Al Gore’s Presidential campaign have been invited as commencement speakers, while not one official from a Republican campaign or administration has,” College Republicans Edward Thayer and Jeff Wilson recently pointed out. Moreover, Thayer and Wilson note, “Emory freshmen are compelled to attend the Carter Town Hall meeting annually, where they are required to hear Former President Carter make disparaging remarks about the President of the United States and the War on Terrorism.”
Before committing school funds for a campus lecture appearance, Emory, in Atlanta, Georgia, laid out an Olympian obstacle course for David Horowitz. The hurdles that the school threw up in front of the noted author stand in stark contrast to the patty-cake treatment the school gives other lecturers whose speeches tend to be far more inflammatory.
“Emory has paraded out a number of liberal and far-left speakers in the past several years including Ralph Nader (who compared American conservatives to slaveholders), Aaron McGruder (who called President Bush’s cabinet ‘gangsters’ and said the real attack was not on September 11, 2001 but was the election of George Bush), Elaine Brown, former chairman of the Black Panthers Organization, Harry Belafonte (who has publicly referred to Secretary of State Colin Powell as a ‘house Negro’), and Robert Redford (who openly supports the communist dictatorship in Cuba),” Thayer and Wilson noted.
I asked spokesmen at Emory University if any of these worthies had to submit prepared remarks before their appearances. I’m still waiting for a response.
Emory’s College Council refused to even consider underwriting an appearance by Mr. Horowitz unless he did so, or, better yet, spoke within parameters agreed upon by the Council, the school’s Black Student Alliance and the local NAACP. The College Council consists mainly of students, but in this episode, as we shall see, they were at least tacitly supported by one of the school’s deans.
“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 have to submit my remarks for approval by the authorities of the police state,” Horowitz remembers.
Ironically, none of the groups who so objected to Horowitz lifted a finger to aid respected author Ward Connerly when he was routinely dissed at his 1998 appearance on campus. Although they stood for the abuse heaped upon Connerly, these same groups objected to the stand Horowitz took in a previous lecture at the school. Horowitz, in that talk, objected to paying reparations to the descendents of slaves.
When the College Council met to discuss the proposed appearance by Horowitz on campus, Dean Vera Dixon Rorie told the Council, “I don’t think that there is a person in this room that doesn’t value freedom of speech, but you must account for the community.”
Dean Rorie decided soon thereafter that the Emory College Republicans (ECRs) lacked civic pride. Because an e-mail from outside the university quoted an article by one of the ECRs, Dean Rorie banished the group from her community.
“Conservative students have not taken the low road, as Senior Representative Priya Bhoplay suggested they should, parading around with petitions and protests every time Michael Moore, Ralph Nader or Aaron McGruder comes to Emory and compares conservatives to Nazis,” College Council representative Ezra Greenberg wrote in the article that so offended Rorie.
“Yet College Council has taken the low road of hysterical censorship, voting down two speakers—[Dennis] Prager and Horowitz, both Jewish conservatives—in two years.” Greenberg is a junior from Connecticut.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.