Controversial ad about Middle East conflict stirs dialogue on campus
Dr. Whitely makes final decision not to run ad in The Hurricane
David Horowitz, head of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, recently submitted an ad to The Hurricane that presented his view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, opening the floodgates for student groups to unite and discuss the issue.
This is not the first time Horowitz has done this. Most recently, in 2001, he submitted an anti-slavery reparation ad to 72 universities, sparking immense debate and controversy. It led to theft of newspapers that chose to run the ad as well as intense protests.
During the past week, representatives from OASIS, the Jewish Student Organization [JSO], Islamic Society of UM [ISUM] and Hillel met with administration, Student Government [SG] President Vance Aloupis and The Hurricane’s Editor in Chief Leigha Taber to express their thoughts on the contents of the ad and whether it should run in the paper. The outcome: a resounding “No.”
“The past few weeks has shown unity among many of the different cultural, religious and minority groups on campus, and this seems to be continuing that trend,” said Minal Ahson, president of the Council of International Student Organizations.
Dr. Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, made the final decision not to run the ad because it violated the newspaper’s advertising policies.
Lourdes La Paz, deputy general council for UM, attended most of the meetings regarding the ad and gave Whitely legal advice regarding the issue.
La Paz agrees with the final decision.
“I respect and understand her decision – it was consistent with the Student Publications Board Policies and Procedures Manual and done in the utmost good faith,” La Paz said.
Gilbert Arias, assistant vice president for student affairs directly responsible for student media, says he is in full support of UM’s advertising policies and Whitely’s decision.
“The purpose of the advertising standards is to maintain advertising integrity and quality and to prevent false and misleading advertising that is unacceptably repugnant and adversely affects the integrity and credibility of student publications as sources of truthful and accurate information or that is in conflict with the basic educational mission of the University,” Arias said.
Vance Aloupis, new SG president, agrees with Arias.
“Anything that would upset or put down students at UM is unacceptable,” Aloupis said.
In 1994, The Hurricane published an ad that denied that the Holocaust actually occurred, which proved to have immense consequences for the University. A donor withheld a $2 million donation to UM, while thousands of students rallied against the ad. As a result, the UM Board of Trustees ordered the newspaper to prohibit all ads deemed “hateful or misleading.”
Dr. Pete Moore, assistant professor for the political science department, distributed copies of the ad to his students after receiving a copy from a concerned student leader who wanted his reaction to the situation.
Moore says his students generally found the ad to be offensive.
“I think these types of issues are healthy because it encourages academic debate on campus,” Moore said. “By handing out the ad, I publicized what was going on far beyond the discussions at the meetings with administrators and student leaders.”
According to the Student Press Law Center, political ads receive more First Amendment protection than commercial ads because they sell an idea rather than a product or service. However, a student newspaper staff has the right to reject any ad.
Jorge Arauz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOROWITZ’S LAST AD
“Censorship Scorecard” from Horowitz’s anti-reparations ad campaign
College papers receiving the ad: 72
College papers rejecting the ad: 44
College papers printing the ad: 28
College papers printing the ad without
apology or incident: 20
College papers printing the ad but
apologizing for running it: 3
College papers that have rejected the ad
but have previously printed an ad that
denied the Holocaust ever took place: 3