Flap Over Reparations Ad Reaches Duke Student Newspaper
Duke University students have joined the bitter protests being played out at campuses across the country over a full-page advertisement criticizing calls for slavery reparations.
The ad, placed in The Chronicle for $1,071 by conservative writer David Horowitz, opposes providing monetary reimbursement to the descendants of slaves.
More than 200 students staged a sit-in on the Duke campus to protest the student newspaper’s decision to run the ad.
“We should be proud of our Blackness. We should stand up for it every chance we get,” says senior Camika Haynes, one of the protesters who vowed to remain outside The Chronicle’s offices until the editors issued an apology.
The ad was rejected by most of the 34 school papers to which it was sent, including Harvard, Columbia and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. But at least nine student newspapers have printed it (see Black Issues, March 29).
Students at Brown University last month trashed 4,000 copies of the student paper in which the ad appeared. The University of California at Berkeley also ran the ad, but later published an apology saying it had been used as “an inadvertent vehicle of bigotry.” University of California at Davis also ran it and later apologized.
The Chronicle Editor Greg Pessin addressed the Duke protesters, saying he understands why the ad offended people. He said it offended him, too.
But Pessin would not apologize. He says the point of running the ad was to open a discussion of the reparations issue.
“Open debate, open discussion, should not be sacrificed for comfort,” Pessin says.
In a statement published in The Chronicle, Duke President Nan Keohane said she hoped the newspaper would allow rebuttals to encourage “vigorous and enlightening debate.”
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