(FW from Lynne Henderson): WA Post: Free Speech Controversy
splits Brown Univ.
maule at LAW.VILLANOVA.EDU
Thu Mar 22 21:01:07 PST 2001
Scary. After reading this, I realize it's not a matter of speech being criticized because it directs personal insults or group-based insults. It amounts to "if you disagree with me and my opinions, you're not allowed to say so, because saying so is an insult to my superior intelligence as demonstrated by the cogent legal statements attributed to me in some of the quotes." It surely re-inforces the first prong of my tri-partite analysis of suppression.
What's lacking is manners. And the Constitution doesn't guarantee them, does it?
Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
Villanova PA 19085
maule at law.villanova.edu
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>>> VOLOKH at mail.law.ucla.edu 03/22/01 03:03PM >>>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lynne Henderson [SMTP:hendersl at ix.netcom.com]
> Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2001 11:32 AM
> To: Volokh, Eugene
> Subject: RE:WA Post: Free Speech Controversy splits Brown Univ.
> For members information. . . . from
> Subject: WA Post: Free-Speech Controv. Splits Brown U.
> Washington Post
> Wednesday, March 21, 2001; Page A03
> Free-Speech Debate Splits Liberal Brown
> Anti-Reparations Ad at Center of Controversy
> By Pamela Ferdinand
> Special to The Washington Post
> PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- With midterms underway before the relief of spring
> here, already stressed-out Brown University students are embroiled in a
> civil liberties debate.
> The furor commenced March 13 with a paid, full-page advertisement in the
> campus newspaper opposing reparations to compensate black descendants of
> American slaves. A coalition of students who considered it offensive
> that the Brown Daily Herald provide free rebuttal space and donate
> ad revenue to one of the university's minority organizations. The editors
> refused. And on Friday, all 4,000 copies of the Herald disappeared from
> newsstands within minutes of their delivery.
> There have been no fistfights, no expletive-filled shouting matches or
> of violence. But the debate over race and free speech has deeply divided
> liberal Ivy League community, with attention focused as much on the merits
> the ad itself as on the controversial manner in which it was protested.
> "This is just the latest stage of a 15-year decline in respect for free
> expression on college campuses," said Harvey Silverglate, a Boston lawyer
> co-director of the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
> Philadelphia. "It should have come as a surprise to nobody that students
> . . . seek to enforce their own ideas about what they deem offensive ideas
> vigilante tactics."
> Not so fast, said Lewis Gordon, Brown University director of Afro-American
> studies and a professor of religious studies, who defended the coalition's
> actions. "If something is free, you can take as many copies as you like,"
> Gordon who has received hate mail and phone calls at his office. "This is
> a free speech issue. It is a hate speech issue." * * * *
> Campus publications have been condemned before for publishing -- or
> to publish -- provocative views. Just this week, 100 protesters denounced
> Harvard Crimson in Cambridge for printing an opinion piece that criticized
> Asian American students for a culture of "self-segregation." Editors
> regret that the "piece was not edited more judiciously." * * * *
> Of 51 schools to which Horowitz sent the ad, 21 rejected it and nine
> it. Brown's is the only Ivy League college newspaper that has run the ad.
> Three other colleges, including the University of California at Berkeley,
> subsequently apologized for printing it. But at the University of
> Wisconsin-Madison, where 100 protesters stormed its office, the student
> newspaper refused to apologize, saying it would hinder free speech.
> That is the same position held by Daily Herald editors, whose debate over
> whether to run the ad was, in one editor's words, "very short and
> "We don't print anything that is illegal or libelous. But other than that,
> don't really reject advertising, and we certainly don't reject advertising
> its political content," said editor-in-chief Brooks King. "It's
> not to run an ad because people on your campus are going to disagree with
> One student columnist resigned in protest; another considered following
> Once the ad appeared, King said coalition members told him that if he did
> meet their demands, "your paper is not going to be seen on this campus
> starting next Wednesday." * * * *
> The next day, ahead of schedule, the newspapers disappeared. The Herald
> reprinted 1,000 copies Saturday, and staff members distributed them under
> watchful eyes of a police escort. Meanwhile, Horowitz reportedly sent King
> e-mail commendation. "This battle against campus fascism -- because that's
> what it is -- is as crucial as any I can think of," he wrote. * * * *
> "The coalition has never opposed free speech," said Natalie Lewis, 22, a
> senior. "We consider the paid advertisement a direct assault on
> color and their allies at Brown, and the removal of the press run . . .
> legitimate act of civil disobedience." Eddie Thurston, 18, a freshman,
> called the ad "stupid and inconsiderate." "I
> didn't dump the paper, but power to the people who did," he said.
> On Monday, university police and Herald staff guarded newspaper racks
> coalition members wearing "Is the BDH serving you?" stickers distributed
> fliers. Computer messages, too, flew back and forth in a college bulletin
> board: "what is being attacked is the fact that the Daily Herald is NO
> a valid forum for Free Speech." "The coalition disrespected the entire
> Even before the ad, the Daily Herald appeared to be a particular sore
> The paper, which has no black staff members, lost its contract with the
> undergraduate council after refusing to undergo a racial audit of its
> coverage, and it prompted a student boycott after running a series on
> e-mails circulating in the black community.
> "People perceive Brown as being so ultra-liberal that it's just like
> where everyone loves each other," King said. "But it's really more like
> real world."
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