Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Welcome back, Mr. Horowitz

Of all the great traditions enrooted at the University of Wisconsin, it is the timeless pledge to “ever encourage that fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found” that students ought to be most proud of — and most eager to defend.

The editors at The Badger Herald have for decades committed themselves to a profound respect for free speech and academic freedom, and have often maintained an eye toward encouraging and protecting controversial and marginalized political discourse. It is a responsibility we are proud to embrace.

Perhaps the greatest example of that spirit came in February 2001, when this newspaper accepted a paid advertisement from conservative author David Horowitz that listed 10 arguments against reparations for slavery. Some on campus loudly decried the advertisement and, by extension, The Badger Herald as “racist.” The decision to print the ad and the subsequent refusal to apologize cost the Herald a great deal of grief and antagonism from many student organizations, including a substantial loss of advertising revenue.

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The still-controversial Mr. Horowitz returns to campus today and, as before, we welcome his unabashed critique of academia, political correctness and the American left. Sponsored by the UW College Republicans, Mr. Horowitz will take the stage at the Memorial Union Theatre at 7:30 tonight and is expected to speak primarily about his Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. We are hopeful that there will be a large crowd on hand — many of whom will surely disagree with Mr. Horowitz — and we are hopeful that Mr. Horowitz’s right to speak is respected.

We have reason to believe, though, that this may not be the case.

“We’re told that we’re supposed to respect David Horowitz and let him speak, but this university calls the police on an anti-war activist for going into an informal session with Halliburton,” said UW senior Chris Dols, a member of the Campus Antiwar Network, according to an Oct. 11 Badger Herald news article. “There’s a double standard. That’s not free speech. We’re against David Horowitz speaking here and we’re going to find ways to show that.”

As long as CAN’s “ways to show that” do not limit Mr. Horowitz’s ability to deliver his lecture to all who want to hear it, that’s OK. Their opposition, of course, is part of a healthy discussion, and we encourage their presence as much as we encourage Mr. Horowitz’s. We praised CAN for effectively conveying their message while at the same time respecting Halliburton’s First Amendment rights at an engineering recruitment fair on campus last month, and we hope Mr. Dols and his fellow students show the same restraint tonight.

Only then can that “fearless sifting and winnowing” commence.

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