Radicals Heckle Horowitz · 31 March 2005

Filed under: Ohio, Press Coverage

By Audrey Weber--The BG News--04/01/05

The following story, from Bowling Green State University's official student newspaper, The BG News, discusses a speech David Horowitz gave at BGSU on Wednesday night. The BGSU College Republicans invited Horowitz to discuss academic freedom; however, thanks to constant interruptions of a profane nature, the students in attendance were robbed of the opportunity to hold a reasoned discourse on this timely topic. Although the BG News student reporter touches upon the riotous environment a group of protestors made of his speech -- drawing criticism even from their fellow leftists -- she does not mention the interruptions were organized by student members of the Revolutionary Communist Party. The RCP chanted, "If Bush and Horowitz have their way/It's Christian Fascist USA"; undoubtedly the first time David Horowitz had been referred to as a "Christian Fascist." -- The Editors.

Students' academic freedom was the topic for last night's Republican Week speaker in Olscamp Hall, but the views of David Horowitz were drowned out by hostile hecklers early and often.

"I have to say this is the most uncivilized college audience I've ever seen," said Horowitz, venting frustration during his presentation after being repeatedly interrupted by audience members.

After a brief introduction by College Republican Chairwoman Monika Winkler, Horowitz was greeted by both applause and rejection from those in attendance. This combination of feelings set the tone for the rest of the speech, with constant outbursts from the audience.

"I thought it was rude, honestly -- he never had the opportunity to give his speech because people kept interrupting," said Mike McQueary, second vice chairman of the College Republicans.

Horowitz's speech began with his views on academic freedom and on the role of the professor in the classroom. He recently published a booklet, titled "Students for Academic Freedom," with the main mission being promoting a goal of intellectual diversity on campuses.

Although he is a conservative, Horowitz explained that the booklet does have leftist influence. He said he approached three leftists with an early draft of the booklet and removed anything they disagreed with.

By including both sides in the development of this booklet Horowitz believes it was made in a fair manner, yet remained steadfast on his ideas of conservatism and the rights of students.

"You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the story," Horowitz said. "A professor's responsibility is to teach you how to handle evidence and how to construct an argument to defend the conclusion that you arrived at."

The monetary income these professors make is also an outrage, according to Horowitz, who feels state schools charge too high a tuition for students, while professors are not in the classrooms enough.

"Professors may spend 6 hours a week in class, eight months out of the year [and] get four months paid vacation," he said. "For those concerned about working people, maybe they should start a movement on the state university campuses to increase their workload in the classroom and reduce the tuition for working people."

These views on the time spent in the classroom by professors was only one part of Horowitz's message about higher education. The political views of the faculty themselves should also be diverse, he said.

"It is important to have conservatives on your faculty, so that you will be challenged on these issues and not go and repeat these so-called mistakes of the past," Horowitz said.

While the main topic of his speech was based around a coalition for student's academic freedom, many expressed their frustrations with the way he chose to communicate his points.

"I felt that his discussion was not focused [and] he wanted to make controversial points," said Hadgu Hadgu, a BGSU alumnus. "It was more about him making his points of propaganda than of him giving a clear view of anything."

And while the crowd was diverse with both liberal and conservative professors and students, some felt that the views of both sides were masked by the constant disruptions.

"Those who disagree should show their better arguments instead of being better hecklers," said David Sobel, a professor in the philosophy department here on campus.

"Ideally I would rather people just let him make his point, then challenge him during the question and answer," Hadgu added.

While some asked questions involving past interviews with Horowitz and others focused on the issues mentioned in the speech, Horowitz drew controversy and enthusiasm from much of the crowd.

Horowitz has participated in hundreds of interviews, spoken at thousands of universities and has been featured on numerous television programs such as Crossfire and Nightline. And although his name drew a large crowd for last night's speech, some in attendance were unaware of his views or impact in the political world.

"I've never heard of this gentleman and I'm a Republican," said junior John Hembree. "I just came to get information, good or bad, just to try to help myself grow."

While many felt mixed emotions and took away different things from the speech, a major goal of the College Republicans was fulfilled.

"By bringing David Horowitz, we're presenting another side [to the liberal voice]," said Jordan Grant, member of the College Republicans. "This country is about freedom of speech, and everyone has a right to say whatever they feel."