Page One

Debate strong over controversial speech

By John Geluardi and Judith Scherr Daily Planet Staff
Friday March 16, 2001

Only about 25 people turned out Thursday evening outside the Valley Life Sciences building to protest a speech on the UC Berkeley campus by David Horowitz, author of a controversial ad run in the Daily Californian opposing reparations for African Americans. 

The speech was sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans and the Berkeley Conservative Foundation. 

“David Horowitz wants a lily-white campus,” said Diana Coleman, a member of the Spartacus League, speaking to the protesters.  

“He wants to return to the 1950s when women stayed in the kitchen and blacks stayed in the back of the bus.” 

Nearby, Libertarian counterprotesters, calling themselves Bureaucrash, held signs calling for “free speech.” 

Some 450 people filed into the auditorium to hear Horowitz and about 150 were left outside without tickets. Organizer Kelso Barnett, from the Berkeley Conservative Foundation, said they brought Horowitz to speak because there is a need for dialogue. “Tonight I think it’s important for people to be open to listening to him,” he said.  

Not all those going into the speech were fans of Horowitz. Freshman Nithya Krishnan said she was upset by the ad in the Daily Cal. “I’m reserving judgment until I hear the talk,” she said. 

Robb McFadden, chair of the Berkeley College Republicans, agreed that “Horowitz speaking on campus makes a statement that free speech is important. Some people on this campus will disagree.” 

The ad placed in the Daily Cal was called “blatantly racist” by those who called for and received an apology from the college paper. The ad said that blacks had no right to reparations because they had already received trillions of dollars in the form of welfare benefits and preferential contracts. It also said that blacks, like whites, benefited from the wealth created by slavery. 

See the weekend edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet for a report on the Horowitz speech.