David Horowitz's Lectures at University of Maine and Bates College Stir Passions, Raise Awareness of · 29 September 2005

Filed under: Maine, Press Coverage

September 30, 2005
Release No. 05-016
Contact: Oliver Wolf, (412) 760-5482

David Horowitz's Lectures at University of Maine and Bates College Stir Passions, Raise Awareness of Academic Freedom Across Maine

Maine College Republicans' "Academic Freedom Days" Highly Successful

ORONO and LEWISTON - Renowned conservative author and academic freedom advocate David Horowitz's visits to Maine colleges stirred heated passions on the issue of higher education bias across the Pine Tree State this week. Horowitz lectured at the University of Maine-Orono Tuesday and at Bates College on Wednesday.

Horowitz's lecture at the University of Maine elicited heated passions there. While most of the crowd was respectful, some attendees were disruptive, with one having to be removed from the building after threatening Horowitz. The lecture was attended by well over 100 attendees, including Representative Emily Cain (D-Orono), and Scott Fish, editor of the conservative website "As Maine Goes," which receives over 1 million page views per month. Representative Cain was a member of the House Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs that considered LD 1194, "An Act to Create an Academic Bill of Rights." That bill eventually failed but the Bates College student government unanimously endorsed the Academic Bill of Rights in May.

Horowitz's lecture at Bates was preceded by his attending classes and meeting with Bates President Elaine Tuttle Hansen, with whom he expressed concerns about the lack of academic freedom at the college. His lecture there brought out well over 150 attendees, including Senator Peter Mills (R-Somerset), Representatives David Bowles (R-Sanford), House Minority Leader, Stephen Bowen (R-Rockport), sponsor of LD 1194, "An Act to Create an Academic Bill of Rights," Scott Lansley (R-Sabattus), Thomas Shields (R-Auburn), Michael Vaughan (R-Durham) and Maine Republican Party Chairman Randy Bumps.

Speaking to the Bates crowd, which was made up of faculty, students and local residents, Horowitz spoke convincingly of the need for approval of his Academic Bill of Rights on Maine's college campuses. He used numerous examples of the indoctrination experienced by conservative Bates students to make his point: "The principle of fairness is one that everyone understands," emphasized Horowitz in his hour-long lecture. "Administrators and faculty on this college campus, however, live in an echo chamber, where their radical opinions, instead of being challenged, are reiterated back to them," he added.

Echoing a central theme of the Bill of Rights, that teachers should not introduce controversial material not related to class discussion, Horowitz remarked, "Your physician shouldn't pontificate on the Iraq War. Neither should a professor." His remarks were mostly well received, except by some Bates faculty who during the question-and-answer session made disrespectful comments towards him, with one leaving the room directly after doing so.

Maine College Republican Chairman Nathaniel Walton (Bates '08) is confident Horowitz's lectures at the University of Maine and Bates have further ignited the academic freedom movement in Maine: "Mr. Horowitz's visits to two Maine college campuses have brought further awareness to the critical issue of academic freedom on college campuses across the state. His nationwide effort to bring balance back to the university has inspired Maine college students from Presque Isle to Wells to do the same here in the Pine Tree State. His opponents' behavior only proved the point that higher education bias is a serious problem. I am eager to lead the effort to spread academic freedom across all of Maine's college campuses," concluded Walton.

David Horowitz is the founder of Students for Academic Freedom (http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org), a nationwide coalition of student groups dedicated to promoting intellectual diversity and academic freedom at America's colleges and universities. In 1988, Horowitz created the Center for the Study of Popular Culture as a vehicle for his activism campaigns. The Center is supported by 40,000 contributors and publishes Front Page Magazine, an online publication that receives 2 million page views per month. He is also the author of numerous books including an autobiography, Radical Son, which has been described as "the first great autobiography of his generation," and which chronicles Horowitz's odyssey from radical leftist to the current positions he holds.

The Maine College Republicans carry on a powerful tradition as the flagship chapter of the College Republican National Committee, America's oldest Republican youth organization. The organization was named "Best State Federation in America" by the College Republican National Committee in 2004. Over 2,500 students on 24 college campuses claim membership to the Maine College Republicans, which aims to carry the banner for conservative values on Maine's college campuses and help elect Republican candidates at the local, state and national levels. The organization is also responsible for producing Maine's only statewide conservative student publication, The Pachyderm Press, and is the first state College Republican federation to create a Board of Governors. Board members include U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins as well as a number of other prominent Maine Republicans.

Chairman Walton is available for interviews/further comments about David Horowitz's visit to Maine. He can be reached by cellular telephone at (781) 248-0808 or by e-mail at nwalton@bates.edu.

For more information on the Maine College Republicans, please visit the organization's website at http://www.mainecr.org.