Maggie Gallagher
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Colleges claim to be tolerant places dedicated to intellectual freedom. Political correctness, administrators say, is a figment of overheated conservative imaginations. So, thought David Horowitz, why not conduct a little test?

Horowitz approached 50 college newspapers to place a paid ad: "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Idea -- and Racist Too." The scorecard so far? Just four college campuses have met the free speech challenge: University of Chicago, University of Arizona, Boston University and Duke. Student newspapers at 23 august places of higher learning such as Harvard, UCLA, Michigan State, SUNY-Binghamton and Columbia refused to allow the ad to be printed, including two papers (Notre Dame and Penn State) that had previously run advertisements by Holocaust deniers, according to Horowitz's Web zine FrontPageMagazine.com. Three student papers ran the ad but apologized for their mistake afterward (Arizona State and University of California at Berkeley and Davis).

At Brown University, the published ad provoked outraged protests and a pending criminal investigation into newspaper theft. A group called Coalition of Concerned Brown Students demands the Brown Daily Herald do appropriate penance: How about donating free ad space, plus the Horowitz ad revenues to student minority groups?

"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," charged the coalition, according to ABCNews.com. A newspaper selling space for an "intentionally misguided political project"! Horrors!

"This is not an issue of free speech," designated spokesman Kohei Ishihara told The New York Times. "This is about profits. The (Brown Daily) Herald profited from the deliberate distortion of history."

A more succinct expression of political correctness could hardly be found: This is not about free speech because I disagree both with your conclusions and your right to pay to publicize them. To his credit, Leon Botstein, president of New York's Bard College, acknowledged there is truth to the charge: "We say we believe in dissent but we actually do not practice it well," he told The New York Times.

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Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.