Source: The Brown University Daily Herald | Boston, March 17, 2001
Protest Targets Ad in Brown University Newspaper
BOSTON (AP) – Brown University students stole the entire press run of an issue of the Brown Daily Herald in an apparent protest of an ad that appeared in an earlier issue denouncing reparations for slavery.
Herald staff members Thursday physically restrained a mob of students who tried to force their way into the newspaper’s office and destroy the remaining 100 copies of the paper that carried the ad.
The protesters pounded on the door, and demanded an apology and financial amends, The Boston Globe reported Saturday.
The advertisement had a headline that said, “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea and Racist Too” and a layout that was similar to the Bill of Rights. It stated that black Americans owed the United States more than it owed them.
The Herald became the first Ivy League newspaper to print the ad from conservative theorist David Horowitz. It had been rejected by at least 18 colleges, including the Columbia Daily Spectator, the Harvard Crimson, and UMass-Amherst’s Massachusetts Daily Collegian. Of those that ran it, at least four quickly apologized.
The newspaper issued a statement Thursday about its actions.
“We understand that the advertisement contains content that some may find disconcerting,” the statement said. “But we will not apologize for printing a legitimate advertisement that may offend some of our readership.”
Leaders of Brown’s minority student associations demanded that the newspaper donate the $725 fee received from the advertiser to campus minority projects and issue a formal statement of regret.
They also removed the papers from their distribution bins and replaced them with fliers that accused the paper of insensitivity.
“I think there’s a fine line between free speech and being disrespectful and distasteful, and the Brown Daily Herald clearly crossed the line,” sophomore Clement Tsao told the Globe.
The newspaper’s staff disagreed. It issued a statement on Friday calling the seizure of the newspapers “an unacceptable attempt to silence our voice,” and added that “we will not censor advertisements because of their politics, which is what we believe our critics wish us to do.”