avid Horowitz, the conservative critic whose newspaper ad opposing slavery reparations has divided campuses across the country, began a tour of Massachusetts colleges yesterday to defend his position.
He spoke last night at Boston University at the invitation of the College Republicans, and plans another appearance today at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Tomorrow night, Horowitz is scheduled to face off against an advocate of reparations at MIT.
A '60s Marxist radical who turned against the New Left a decade later, Horowitz is the author of ''Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks Is a Bad Idea - and Racist Too,'' a newspaper ad that argues against making payments to the descendants of black American slaves. Fourteen campus newspapers have published the ad, and 35 have rejected it.
The ad has enraged and divided students at several schools, and has attracted considerable attention for Horowitz.
The ad outlines several claims, including that slave labor led to wealth that benefits both blacks and whites today.
Several among the 10 students protesting Horowitz at BU last night said that he was using ''sneaky'' arguments to push racist views.
''The fact that he has publicly stated these views about blacks and against reparations makes him a racist by association,'' said Dan Chenkin, a junior at BU.
In an interview yesterday, Horowitz said that reparations are ''morally justifiable'' to slaves and former slaves, but not for their descendants.
''We have to recognize it's 136 years later,'' he said.
Some students and left-wing political groups have stepped up their attacks on newspapers that publish his ad. In recent weeks, copies of the Brown University student newspaper and a UMass conservative magazine were stolen soon after their editors published the ad.
But others have defended the rights of newspapers to give Horowitz a paid forum for his views. And at BU, where a student newspaper published the ad last month, there was little protest.
Nick Savides, president of the BU College Republicans, said yesterday that his group booked Horowitz to speak before the ad controversy began.
While the protest at BU was relatively small, a rally planned for today at UMass could be larger. Fliers calling for a student walkout from classes were scattered around the campus yesterday.