Letter to the Daily Texan · 21 April 2005

In your recent article about the arrest of several protesters at David Horowitz's speech on campus (6 arrested after protest of Horowitz, 04/15), Dana Cloud, an associate professor at UT, and a member of the International Socialist Organization is quoted as saying that these arrests were a "violation of First Amendment Rights" and that David Horowitz is "part of a growing trend, the new McCarthyisms."

Professor Cloud's statements are hypocritical. The witch-hunt at UT was conducted by rowdy ISO activists carrying defamatory banners and searching for conservative demons. Their actions were not an exercise in free speech, but rather a calculated obstruction of a university lecture, directed by an elderly long-haired individual who gave them marching orders and did not seem to be a student. Had these individuals behaved in an appropriately civil manner and actually listened to Mr. Horowitz's speech they would have had the opportunity to challenge his views during the question-and-answer period. Instead, they attempted to deny other students the opportunity to hear his lecture, drowning him out with shouts, foghorns and other noisemakers, even after repeated warnings to desist. Their arrests were more than justified in the interests of academic freedom.

The Academic Bill of Rights proposed by our organization stipulates: "An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated." The academic freedom movement inspired by this document aims to protect the free speech rights of all students and faculty---even members of the ISO. Unfortunately, Professor Cloud seems unwilling to grant conservatives on campus that same privilege.

Sara Dogan
National Campus Director
Students for Academic Freedom