Conservative policy advocate, author and columnist for Townhall magazine David Horowitz presented his views on academic freedom and leftist bias in higher education to community members last Wednesday evening in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall. The event was sponsored by the Brandeis Libertarian-Conservative Union, formerly known as the Brandeis Republicans. During the event, multiple security personnel were present in the room.

In his presentation, Horowitz said that his last lecture on campus was 7 years ago and was scheduled to be held in the Shapiro Campus Center Atrium, but it was moved by University administration to a more secluded venue where his views would not openly offend students.

Few fliers were posted around campus publicizing the event. Despite limited promotion and departmental support, Michael Sklaroff '13, president of the Libertarian-Conservative Union, was satisfied with the turnout.

Horowitz, who said he considers himself a "liberal," argued that universities today are teaching students what to think, not how to think. "Students don't understand that they are being indoctrinated," he said,

Entire academic fields, Horowitz claimed in his speech, have been transformed into political parties. He cited examples at Brandeis such as the African and Afro-American Studies department and the Women's and Gender Studies; Social Justice and Social Policy; and Peace, Conflict and Coexistence studies programs.

"These are not-so-subtle ways of shaping the discourse at the University," Horowitz explicated. "Campuses are the most intolerant environments in our society."

Horowitz referenced the two left-wing speakers on campus, Hedy Epstein and Ellen Schrecker, who both spoke to Brandeis students on the same day as his presentation. "It's not a mystery that campus fascism is a left-wing phenomenon," Horowitz argued when comparing the police presence in the room to the expected minimal security measures for left-wing Middle East commentators.

In his Townhall column, Horowitz wrote an Oct. 22 entry titled "Schrecker and Me at Brandeis," where he noted the small number of faculty present at his event and the complete lack of departmental sponsorship that the event had garnered.

He pointed out that on the same night, Ellen Schrecker spoke to students about her new book, The Lost Soul of Higher Education, which was sponsored by the Education, History, Sociology, Anthropology and English departments and the Women's and Gender Studies, Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, Legal Studies and Journalism programs.

"This little disparity tells you all you really need to know about the intellectual orientation of academic faculties and their disrespect for conservative students," Horowitz wrote in his column. However, he noted that the Brandeis Libertarian-Conservative Union was not alone in bringing Horowitz to campus without faculty or departmental support. He explained that after speaking at 400 universities over 20 years, only two faculty members invited him to speak and only one department had ever invited him to speak.

Horowitz has written numerous books discussing the role of liberalism in academic freedom and listed Prof. Gordon Fellman (PAX) as a dangerous professor in his book, The Professors: 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.

A campus bookstore representative arranged at the event at least 30 copies of Horowitz's new book, Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign for an Academic Bill of Rights. No copies were sold or signed after the lecture.

Only one professor attended the event, Prof. Jacob Cohen (AMST), who described himself that evening as a "conservative" faculty member at Brandeis in rebuke of Horowitz's assertions that "there are no conservatives on the faculty here" at Brandeis.

Horowitz also spoke about Israel, claiming that "whenever Israel has shown the willingness to negotiate, to withdraw, what has happened is that they have been made weaker because the other side is a terrorist entity." He argued that Palestine never belonged to the Arabs, tracing the lineage of the land back to the Philistines, and referenced the recent flotilla incident in which Israeli soldiers intercepted a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, saying that, "when the Jews responded, the campus fascists joined the terrorists."

Paraska Tolan '11, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine, disputed Horowitz several times during his speech. In an interview with the Justice after the event, she claimed that she was frustrated by Horowitz's "unsubstantiated accusations" against student groups at Brandeis like the Muslim Students Association, which Horowitz defined as a "wing of Muslim Brotherhood" with a direct agenda for terrorism.

Liza Behrendt '11, a co-founder of Jewish Voice for Peace, called Horowitz a "complete bigot" and felt that "his ideology reinforces the same oppression that has persisted in the Western world for a very long time, particularly in the United States and in Israel."

Gary Willig '14 said, "I think it was important to have him here. I don't agree with everything he says, but I generally don't agree with everything that speakers say.