Letter: Horowitz protesters degraded discussion

Three students were not pleased with the reception author David Horowitz received at his speech earlier this month.

Dear Editor,

Temple was fortunate enough to host a presentation by renowned political analyst David Horowitz on April 16. Unfortunately, the impression left by the university, its students and even its faculty was less than flattering. In response to our experience at the event, the article written by Matthew Petrillo and the commentary piece written by Kathryn López, we have authored this editorial in an effort to take a comprehensive look at the full picture, not just one side. Readers should note that the three of us maintain differing political ideologies: Democrat, Libertarian, and Republican.

David Horowitz recently released his latest work entitled One-Party Classroom. In it, he expresses his belief that it is not the responsibility of a university professor to impress any one-sided political issue upon his or her students and marginalize the dissenting students. Classrooms should be a forum in which both sides of an issue are presented. This teaches students to think critically and evaluate each argument.

Regrettably, any indecisive Temple student who went into Mr. Horowitz’s presentation with an open mind was most likely unable to discern his or her position, due to demonstrations by several inconsiderate members of the audience. Spectators were made aware that a Q&A session would be taking place after Mr. Horowitz’s remarks. What Ms. López described as a “silent protest” was, in fact, all but silent. Many of the protesters were also talking loudly among themselves, laughing and blatantly interrupting him. Questions that were asked during the Q&A period were presented in a confrontational manner. We have no problem with expressing disagreement. However, doing it in a way that infringes upon one’s rights to free speech is unacceptable. The protesters did a major disservice to everyone else who came to listen and pose thoughtful inquiries. They also injured themselves by demonstrating an obviously leftist agenda that was not open to alternative viewpoints. They effectively proved Mr. Horowitz’s points about indoctrination.

A notable instance of closed mindedness occurred when Mr. Horowitz was berated with grievances about his views on a gay studies course at Temple. Mr. Horowitz responded by stating that he is “one of the most outspoken conservatives for human rights for gay people” and admires all the efforts they have taken thus far. His objection to the course had to do with its political bias. The room went silent. Hopefully this silence signified that the protesters were aware of their ignorance in stereotyping this “conservative” individual.

Unfortunately, Mr. Horowitz became aggravated and defensive as a result of this said behavior and failed to improve the lowly level of discourse initiated by the protesters. He allowed them to detract from the main purpose of his speech by engaging in heated discussions about side issues that the protesters shoved in his face and eventually resorted to name calling. However, we believe this was in response to the incorrigibility of the protesters, not because of “flawed research,” as Ms. López claimed. Nonetheless, any failure on Mr. Horowitz’s part to prove his points was compensated by the protesters’ closed mindedness and overall rude conduct.

Michael Zinno, Secondary Education, Political Science
Eric Horst, Economics
Joseph Alpert, Philosophy, Political Science


  1. Thank you for commenting on the other side of the story. I was disappointed by the two articles that were published after Horowitz’s presentation by Matthew Petrillo and Kathryn López. After attending the discussion, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to learn more about the book and his opinions, whether or not I agree with them. I was also disappointed by the reaction of many Temple student protestors and some audience members. I think their reactions gave Horowitz and anyone else in the audience who is not a faculty member or student at Temple the wrong impression of Temple students as a whole.

  2. How were you disappointed by those articles? The one simply featured the event and didn’t show any clear bias; the other was an opinion piece..so you’re disappointed in someone’s opinion? That makes no sense.

    The problem with temple are people like you, Francis. You go to a school like Temple, where they teach you to be accepting of others, to allow everyone to speak and hear all opinions, to not be ignorant to others’ viewpoints. But once someone says something racist or opinionated, you call them ignorant and close all doors, which is ignorance in itself.

    You can’t tell someone that their opinion is wrong. if YOU think that it is ignorant, than you are the ignorant one.

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