6 Arrested After Protest of Horowitz · 21 April 2005

Filed under: Press Coverage, Texas

6 Arrested After Protest of Horowitz
Academic Bill of Rights author speaks about academic freedom at UT

By Marjon Rostami--Daily Texan--04/15/05

A speech about academic freedom turned into a "violation of First Amendment rights," according to Dana Cloud, a member of the International Socialist Organization.

Six people, including one juvenile, were arrested Wednesday night after protesting David Horowitz's speech at Townes Hall at the UT School of Law. The Texas Federalist Society hosted the meeting and invited Horowitz, a right-wing advocate and author of the Academic Bill of Rights, to speak.

Opposition groups were holding signs and speaking out during Horowitz's speech on Wednesday, but when they were told to stop speaking, some took out noisemakers to mark their disapproval of the speaker. Three females and three males were arrested and then jailed under charges of disrupting a meeting or procession ­- a Class B misdemeanor. The subjects were not UT students.

Cloud, an associate professor in communication studies, attended the speech and witnessed the arrests. She said the situation was ironic.

"Horowitz claims to be for free speech, but he is actually on a campaign to discredit and ruin progressive intellectuals," Cloud said. "In the name of free speech, they are basically calling the police on protesters."

Victoria Corinne Cloud, no relation to Dana Cloud, and Dylan Wayne Vicknair were both arrested for physical action ­- the use of an air horn. Michael Stephen Hardin, Catharina Elizabeth Perry and Scott Crow were arrested for verbal utterances - yelling and arguing with a speaker. All six activists were released late Thursday afternoon.

Anastasia Breloff, the president of the Texas Federalist Society, and other officers from the society said they warned activists at least three times, each time reiterating the possibility of arrest.

"Protesters chose to disrupt Mr. Horowitz's lecture by moving threateningly toward the stage, shouting at the speaker and blowing foghorns and other noise-making devices," Breloff said in a statement.

Melissa Hotze, assistant vice president of events, was sitting in the last row of the auditorium and said she was frustrated that the protesters would not sit down until the question and answer period to voice their opinions.

"When he was at other campuses, people were throwing pies at his face. We just alerted the UTPD that he was coming, and there might be potential of things happening," Hotze said.

According to Hotze, Horowitz's point was that "universities have a very liberal faculty, and if you are a conservative, you are going to be penalized from your academic freedom."

Horowitz encourages students to report their professors who openly silence the opinion of conservatives in universities.

"The irony of squelching such a protest with police on a meeting on free speech is the fact that Horowitz is part of a growing trend, the new McCarthyisms - disciplining progressive faculty," Cloud said.

Read SAF response.