[sixties-l] [BRC-NEWS] Anti-Reparations Protests Continue (fwd)

From: Ronald M. Jacobs (rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu)
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 08:00:27 EST

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    Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 16:51:59 -0500 (EST)
    From: Theresa El-Amin <theresaelamin@aol.com>
    Reply-To: jlc@herald-sun.com
    To: brc-news@lists.tao.ca
    Subject: [BRC-NEWS] Anti-Reparations Protests Continue


    Durham Herald-Sun

    March 23, 2001

    Anti-Reparations Protests Continue

    By Jennifer Chorpening <jlc@herald-sun.com>

    DURHAM -- One hundred fifty students filed silently from the
    student union to Duke President Nan Keohane's office early
    Thursday to deliver petitions protesting a political ad
    against reparations for slavery that appeared in the Monday
    edition of the student-run newspaper.

    Like a funeral procession, the protesters -- black, Asian
    and white -- used one arm to hold the person in front of
    them and the other to hold signs that screamed their anger
    and hurt.

    "It's not a black thing," "Stop the hate," "Make The
    Chronicle responsible," the signs said.

    After entering Duke's Allen Building, the protesters slowly
    climbed the winding staircase and pushed through the glass
    doors of the administration offices. Keohane stood outside
    her door, flanked by several of her senior officers.

    The students brushed by, dropping into the president's
    outstretched hands reams of paper -- 269 signed petitions
    demanding the university account for its progress after past
    protests by black students in 1969, 1975 and 1997 -- as
    Keohane tried to shuffle the stack into an orderly bundle.

    They then moved down the long hall, turned, and made their
    way back out the door, their backpacks and trendy messenger
    bags slung over their shoulders, their dorm keys jangling on
    their chests off of long cords.

    After the students left, Keohane called the march a "very
    important way of making a statement."

    "It was appropriate and quite moving," she said, before
    retiring with administrators to discuss the petitions.

    The students demanded that the university make a progress
    report of demands from past protests and pull its
    advertising from The Chronicle if the newspaper did not give
    them two pages: one for an apology, and one to rebut the ad,
    titled "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad
    Idea -- and Racist Too."

    In addition, the students demanded the newspaper reform its
    policy on reviewing ads, so that "offensive material is not
    published outside of the editorial page," and that the paper
    provide full and adequate coverage of minority events. The
    money received from the ad should be either returned or
    given to an agreed-upon organization or cause in the Durham
    or Duke community, they said.

    On Monday, The Chronicle published the full-page
    anti-reparations ad placed by the conservative columnist
    David Horowitz for $793.80.

    The ad argues that reparations paid to the descendants of
    slaves would be unjust, as recipients' sole qualification
    for receiving the payments would be skin color. In addition,
    the ad says American blacks are better off today than
    Africans; reparations have already been paid through welfare
    and the Civil War; and only a tiny minority of whites owned
    slaves, but all would pay the reparations.

    More than 200 students attended an all-day sit-in of a room
    near The Chronicle's offices Wednesday. They developed a
    plan of action late that night, and a smaller group of about
    15 marched into The Chronicle after midnight. Told it was a
    private space and that police had been called, the group
    re-grouped at the Bryan Center, where 50 to 75 students
    spent the night.

    The silent march started at 10:30 a.m. Thursday and lasted
    about 30 minutes.

    Ronald Nance, a late-night housekeeper at the Bryan Center,
    said when he got off the elevator to clean the floor, he'd
    "never seen that many people here at 3 a.m." Usually, the
    Bryan Center closes at 3 a.m., but the students had special
    permission from the Duke Police to stay in the building.

    Nance, who is black, looked on as the students slowly
    dispersed from their circle. He said he hoped they would
    prevail, but that it was in God's hands.

    Around 6 p.m., Keohane e-mailed several of the student
    leaders and said she would pull together a report on
    previous demands by March 29. However, she would not promise
    to ask university departments and academic units to withdraw
    their ads from the newspaper.

    "If the university needs to announce, for legal and safety
    reasons, the conditions under which a bonfire may occur to
    celebrate a Final Four basketball victory, we need to
    publicize that broadly. The university administration does
    not tell individual offices where and what they may
    advertise and, in the interests of all the students who
    depend on The Chronicle for such information that is
    important to their academic and other decisions, it would be
    inappropriate for us to do so," she wrote.

    But, if The Chronicle does not provide the space for a
    rebuttal and refutation of the arguments in the ad, Keohane
    promised to "underwrite the full cost of the page."

    She reiterated the university's commitment to free and open
    inquiry, and dialogue about the issue in Duke's classrooms
    and open forums.

    "Through such dialogue, and through continuing to support
    one another sensitively in times of pain and hurt, we
    strengthen our university," Keohane wrote.

    Greg Pessin, editor of The Chronicle, said a response,
    signed by all the editors, would be given to the student
    protesters at a meeting late Thursday evening. This event
    was to occur after The Herald-Sun's deadline.

    Pessin had previously refused to apologize, saying, "Open
    debate, open discussion, should not be sacrificed for
    comfort." Pessin wrote in the newspaper's Wednesday issue,
    "The free exchange of ideas and the academic freedom so dear
    to our university cannot be realized unless all voices,
    regardless of controversy, are heard."

    Sarah Wigfall, Duke junior and a leader of the protest, said
    she'd never had a problem with race "at this school until

    This ad, she said, made her cry in her dorm room, where she
    and her roommate sent out a missive over an e-mail list
    compiled in the past for a party.

    So, instead of studying for an important test, Wigfall got
    one hour of sleep at the Bryan Center.

    "Life here is stressful enough at Duke," she said. "Now we
    have to deal with an issue that should never have occurred."

    The ad was sent to nearly 50 universities, of which at least
    18 have refused to run it.

    At least nine student newspapers have run the ad, after
    which the newspapers at Arizona State, Berkeley and the
    University of California at Davis also apologized. Friday,
    student activists at Brown University -- where the ad
    appeared March 14 -- stole 4,000 copies of the paper in


    Links related to this article:

    Text of Horowitz ad: http://www.frontpagemag.com/horowitzsnotepad/2001/hn01-03-01.htm

    Copyright (c) 2001 Durham Herald Company. All Rights Reserved.

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