Campus Roiled Over Slave Reparations Ad

ByABC News

March 19, 2001 -- Stacks of freshly printed Brown University student newspapers disappeared Friday — the latest casualty in a campus-wide controversy over an ad denouncing slavery reparations.

"It was a hit," said Patrick Moos, the editor of the Brown Daily Herald, saying he knew immediately why he couldn't find a single copy of his newspaper anywhere on the Ivy League campus.

Last Tuesday, the Daily Herald ran a full-page advertisement, entitled "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Idea — and racist too."

The ad was paid for by a conservative commentator, David Horowitz, who submitted it to nearly 50 colleges, including Brown. The one-page text, which is laid out to resemble the bill of rights, claims that African Americans owe the United States more than it owes them.

The Brown Daily Herald was one of only a handful of schools that ran it, and one of only six that declined to publish an apology.

"This is really a First Amendment issue," said Moos, citing many articles on reparations that have filled the newspaper since the ad ran.

Free Speech or Hate Speech?

Some members of the Brown community argued, however, it was not an issue of hate speech.

"The Brown Daily Herald … chose to … print a paid advertisement that solicits funds in order to further a maliciously misinformed and intentionally misguided political project," said the "Coalition of Concerned Brown Students," a group which formed to protest the ad.

The coalition demanded a free ad page to respond to Horowitz's claims, and that the newspaper give revenue from the ad to organizations that represent Brown's minority students.

The Daily Herald rejected the demands and reprinted and redistributed the missing edition on Saturday, with police present.

They are also cooperating with a criminal investigation into who removed the missing papers.

ABCNEWS Affiliate NECN's Maya Kulycky contributed to this report.

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