In the late 1960s, David Horowitz was a leftist writer, and he was involved with the Black Panther Party.
Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Buchanan 1910, Horowitz will appear before a college audience as a man College Republicans member Jeff Farrah calls “a very important conservative,” and who campus fliers have labeled “the man the Nexus is afraid of,” an “American hero” and an “ignorant, racist, hateful little gnome.”
Horowitz quit the left in 1974 over opposition to the Black Panther’s use of violence, which he blamed for the murder of a close friend. He withdrew and broke ties with liberal political groups.
The man who emerged was a conservative activist, a columnist and an award-winning author known for his opposition to reparations for African-American descendants of slaves and his belief that college campuses do not always allow conservatives free speech.
Horowitz has recently gained national attention for his advertisement, “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks Is a Bad Idea for Blacks – and Racist Too,” which he attempted to place in 73 college newspapers around the country. The advertisement was rejected by 41 papers, including the Daily Nexus, and was printed in 28 newspapers, three of which later apologized for running it, and four of which printed editorials attacking the ad.
Nexus 2000-2001 Editor in Chief Ted Andersen decided not to run the advertisement when he received it in early May. Storke Publications Manager Tybie Kirtman, who oversees the Nexus and La Cumbre, said the ad violated Nexus advertising policies prohibiting ads that are sexist, racist, demeaning to women and minorities or blatantly illegal.
Andersen said the Nexus rarely rejects advertisements, but the decision to do so was made easier based on controversy at other universities.
“When Tybie and I dropped the ad, it was after the Horowitz ordeal blew up in the media. Berkeley had already run a front-page apology and Horowitz refused to pay Princeton’s paper because they ran a staff editorial next to his ad,” he said. “It was an easy choice not to run the ad.”
Members of the College Republicans and Horowitz believe the decision not to run the ad in the Nexus was a way of censoring unpopular opinions. They placed fliers on the campus promoting the event calling Horowitz “the man the Nexus is afraid of.”
“If it had been something the Nexus agreed with, I have no doubt that it would have been run,” College Republicans Chair Jonathan Kalinski said. “[The flier title is] catchy, it sounds good. What he has to say does scare people. There’s a lot of truth to the name ‘the Nexus is afraid of.’ ”
Farrah said he believes Horowitz anticipated the controversy surrounding the ad, but that the ad was not placed for the sole purpose of causing trouble.
“I’m sure he anticipated that some people would disagree with him, but he didn’t do it just to raise eyebrows,” Farrah said. “He did it to show his point. [The rejection] shows an obvious bias on campuses.”
The ad was printed in UC Davis’ student run newspaper, the California Aggie, which pulled the ad the next day and, after student protest, printed an apology. Both the manager and the editor in chief had not seen the ad before it ran and did not approve it, Aggie Editor in Chief Eleeza Agopian said.
“[The ad] violated our own advertising guidelines. It violated the policy in that we consider our community standards on campus for behavior to create open and welcoming environment,” she said. “The comments made in the ad were not conducive to a positive environment. In fact it was quite detrimental.”
The ad also ran in UC Berkeley’s Daily Californian on March 1. According to Daily Californian policy, ads with incorrect or blatantly inflammatory content cannot be published. The Daily Cal printed a front-page apology from the editorial board and Editor in Chief Daniel Hernandez wrote an explanation.
“Our answer today is this explanatory piece and the apology from the senior Ed. Board that appears on today’ s front page. These are both unprecedented moves for a newspaper to make, but we felt that the newspaper should hold itself accountable to its readers in the most open and honest way,” he wrote.
Horowitz previously made his name with several books, including his autobiography Radical Son, Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes and The Art of Political War. In 1978, he received a Guggenheim fellowship and in 1990 he received the Teach Freedom Award from President Ronald Reagan.
“He’s a very important conservative,” Farrah said. “We want to give him a chance to voice his opinion and let the students decide what to think.”
Kalinski said he believes Horowitz will speak on the First Amendment, but that he sometimes changes his topics. Kalinski said the College Republicans decided to bring Horowitz because they believe he will be a good representative of their political beliefs and will bring attention to their group.
“He makes headlines, and we make no secrets about that,” Kalinski said. “It’s a good way to get our name out there and show that we’re active.”