The following is an e-mail exchange David Horowitz had with Communications Studies Professor and self-styled Bolshevik Dana Cloud in regard to his scheduled visit to the University of Texas on April 9 to discuss the book he wrote with Jacob Laksin, One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Universities are Indoctrinating Students and Undermining our Democracy. — The Editors.
Subject: Debate at UT April 9?
I hear that you will be visiting the University of Texas to speak on April 9. I know that you are always disappointed that you can’t get any of your targets to debate you, so I thought I’d offer myself up. I hereby formally invite you to debate me publicly on the question of academic freedom at the University of Texas during your April visit.
Around the controversy of your speaking at the National Communication Association meeting last fall, you indicated, in pulling out of that speaking engagement, that for some reason you feared for your safety in confronting me. Rest assured, I am 45 and too sedentary for my own good — entirely non-threatening. I am as interested in civil discussion as you are and would love the opportunity to hash out our disagreements in public. I would be happy to set mutually acceptable ground rules for the debate.
I look forward to hearing from you or your staff very soon. I will take non-responsiveness as a refusal to debate. Thank you for considering my invitation.
Dana L. Cloud
Department of Communication Studies
University of Texas
1 Longhorn Station A1105
Austin, TX 78712
March 17, 2009
Professor Dana Cloud
University of Texas
Nice to hear from you, Dana.
As you will recall, the last time we were in an academic setting together it was in the law school at your university. You organized a protest inside the auditorium which made it impossible for me to begin my talk until campus police removed you and about 20 of your comrades from the room. Consequently, when the Communications Studies Association informed me that you were planning to protest my talk at its annual convention last December I asked that there be sufficient security to remove you and your fellow Bolsheviks, if that became necessary, to allow me to speak. I also asked that the Association pay for my personal guard since I have been physically attacked by leftists on several college campuses. (The Association’s response was to disinvite me – you can pat yourself on the back for that, comrade.) When I asked for security for that event, I didn’t expect to be physically assaulted by you personally. On the other hand, when you incite radicals, who think nothing of employing fascistic tactics in an academic environment and who regard me as a “monster” (which is how I am characterized in today’sCounterPunch, a magazine you write for) you cannot really expect to be able to control the consequences. You are part of a religious cult which has a long history of violence and my requests were merely prudent.
Typical of your tactics is to invite me to debate and then to threaten me that, if I don’t respond, you’ll attack me (presumably as a hypocrite). No need for the threat Dana – I meant what I said and have already debated your political friends Ward Churchill, Peter Eckstein, Cary Nelson, and Roger Bowen on previous occasions. Too bad in all these years of attacking me you hadn’t thought to organize an event yourself at UT at which we might have such an exchange of ideas. Since you didn’t, however, we need to arrive at a suitable arrangement that recognizes the efforts conservative students have already made to organize this one.
My appearance at UT is being organized and paid for by College Republicans. I will be happy to ask them to make you part of the program, provided 1) the debate is about my book One-Party Classroom (since that is what the event is about); and 2) the Communication Studies and Rhetoric Departments co-sponsor the event with College Republicans. If you are amenable to these conditions, I already have secured the agreement of the College Republicans and we can proceed with new announcements and the planning of the new format.
From: Dana Cloud
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 3:01 PM
I am happy to hear back from you so quickly. I did not in any way mean to threaten you in my previous note. It’s just that, truly, I did not expect to hear back from you at all in response to my invitation.
We are in the middle of spring break, so asking about departmental sponsorship will have to wait until next week. I have a feeling that my chair and that of the Department of Rhetoric and Writing will be disinclined to provide support from an academic unit for your visit. Certainly, there is no money to be had. But I will check with them when the semester resumes.
Are you willing to debate me without this restrictive condition? I would be very happy to proceed if so.
Until early next week-
On 3/17/09 5:48 PM, “David Horowitz” wrote:
I asked for co-sponsorship from the departments of communications and rhetoric because in my view they are using the university as a platform for their political agendas, and the goal of my academic campaign is to restore a sense of intellectual decency to faculties and also to assert the well-established academic freedom principle that where there is a controversial issue a proper academic approach is make students aware that there is more than one side to the controversy. Conservative students pay the same tuition as leftist students and deserve equal respect from their professors, regardless of their professors’ ideological point of view. Departmental sponsorship for conservative speakers is presently denied to conservative student groups. This is an injustice that I would like to see corrected (and would appreciate your support in correcting). Sponsorship of this event is not an endorsement of me — it is a respect paid to the College Republicans.
This is a respect owed them by their teachers. They are students after all and faculty have a professional obligation to treat them as students and not as political adversaries. If the departments of Communications and Rhetoric refuse to formally co-sponsor this event, then I would like you to enlist as many of your faculty colleagues as you can to form an ad hoc committee to co-sponsor it and to make public their names as members of the ad hoc committee. I would also like you to get them to provide the same support (e.g., through granting of academic credits for attendance) to this event as they do for left-wing student groups that sponsor speakers. Consider that I am not asking you to provide any financial support for jumping onto a conservative event (which would seem reasonable if I had) and also that their support will go towards making it possible for the leftist side of the argument to be heard. You might also point out to the Communications and Rhetoric Departments that by refusing to co-sponsor an event which presents both sides of an important controversy they would just be confirming the critique of these departments in my book — namely, that they are running a one-party curriculum, which violates university standards. I assure you (and you can assure them) that the UT Community, including the taxpayers and donors and legislators who support the university, the UT Administration and the UT board of trustees will be watching how they play this one.
From: Dana Cloud
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 8:00 PM
On second or third thought, I have decided not to ask my department or colleagues to cosponsor this event. I don’t want them in the middle of this. It’s not their fight. So if you will not engage me without the departmental sponsorships, we will have to forgo the opportunity to debate.
Thank you for considering my invitation. It is too bad that I cannot meet your conditions.
I leave the final decision to you and await your word.
On 3/17/09 11:12 PM, “David Horowitz” wrote:
I thought you had more clout with the Communications Studies Department. If you don’t, I’m not going to ask you to do the impossible. What I want from you is faculty support for this event which is a College Republican event you’re asking to be invited to and, more than that, to become half of its program. I suggested you form an ad hoc faculty committee composed of professors who want to see you debate me and who appreciate that the College Republicans want to give a radical voice a platform. I’m not trying to make things difficult for you. I’m asking you to pull your weight in getting support from the faculty left for the CR’s event, given that they are willing to sponsor an event that features someone from the faculty left.
From: Dana Cloud
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 7:10 AM
What I am trying to get across to you is that I will not involve my academic colleagues in supporting your visit. I am happy to invite the progressive counterparts to the College Republicans (ISO, Dems if they want to, etc.) to help with publicity efforts. We can publicize among faculty but I am unwilling to enlist anything like “official” faculty support. In political arenas we are used to suffering casuists, but there is no reason to ask my colleagues, who have no stakes in this fight, to do so.
As I said before, if this is a deal-breaker for you, than so be it.
From: “David Horowitz”
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 7:42 AM
Of course Dana. You’re a Bolshevik. You don’t believe in democracy or academic freedom. You believe in your divine right to save the world from the evil ones who disagree with you, and you’re smart enough to know that faculty constitute an authority on campus and having faculty co-sponsor an event with College Republicans would be conferring legitimacy on your enemies. ISO is an organization which you belong to which seeks a “dictatorship of the proletariat” in this country and which has organized fascistic attempts to obstruct my speeches at universities across the country. Thank you for proving my point that you are an ideologue, not a scholar, and for showing why the academic freedom campaign is crucial to restoring decency and academic standards to the university.