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Denver, Colorado, Thursday, September 9, 2004


Controversial speaker coming to CU

By Erin Wiggins
Colorado Daily Staff Writer

British historian David Irving has been called everything from the "greatest historian of World War II" to a "racist falsifier of history."

On Friday, the CU community will get to decide for itself, as Irving's reputation will make its way to Boulder, at 7 p.m. in Hellems 252 on the CU-Boulder campus. Irving, who in his writings has openly denied the Holocaust and its importance in history, is being brought to campus by Student Advocates for Free Expression (SAFE), a new student group created by CU sophomore Joshua McNair.

McNair, an English major, said he formed the group to "not only to provide a venue for unpopular views to be espoused," but also as "a tool through which we can show students censorship efforts first-hand." McNair said the controversial historian is already speaking in Denver this weekend, so he said he merely e-mailed Irving, who was very receptive in coming to CU.

McNair said he thought Irving (left, speaking at Cincinnati last week) would be an ideal first speaker for his group because the historian routinely prompts such visceral reactions -- reactions McNair says are already taking place on this campus. "This entire week, I've been dealing with intolerant people that are actually angry that he has the right to share his views and that a group like ours is permitted to exist," McNair said Wednesday, offering that many of his fliers promoting the event have been torn down around campus.

"(But) all of this is wonderful; it is the exact reaction I hoped for." According to Irving's Web site, the speaker's current lecture tour covers the topics of "comparisons," including the Nuremberg trials, Hitler, Churchill, war crimes law and Iraq.

CU Hillel program director Molly Goldsmith said her organization -- a campus affiliate of a nationwide Jewish group -- is upset that Irving will be speaking at CU on the basis of his denouncement of the Holocaust. "Of course he has the right to free speech and the right to be here, but we really condemn his message of Holocaust denial," she said Wednesday. "It's just ridiculous that anyone would think the Holocaust didn't happen." Goldsmith said Hillel is planning to protest outside the Hellems building on Friday night, along with other community members. They will pass out fliers and fact sheets denouncing Irving's views on the Holocaust.

She said there would also be increased security at the event, which she called "a good idea." University of Colorado Student Union (UCSU) President Eugene Pearson said while he and most of UCSU do not agree with Irving's "abhorrent" point of view, he said the request for the event met USCU criteria. Pearson said UCSU granted funding for extra security for the event "to ensure the safety of the students" but did not grant SAFE advertising money to put on the event due to budget constraints.

"You have to fund student groups on a viewpoint-neutral basis," he said, citing a 1999 Supreme Court ruling on the issue. "No one on Council agrees with the speaker, but he met criteria ... once you start limiting, you get into really dangerous territory." McNair wouldn't say how many people are in SAFE, but according to UCSU rules, there must be at least three to start a club. "I will say that this event has brought new people to the organization, and I expect a tremendous growth after Friday's lecture," he said. The event is free and open to the public.



Holocaust denier gets help from CU | Details of Boulder function, Sept 10, 2004
David Irving's speaking tour
Jewish attempts to stop him speaking in New Zealand Sept 2004
Origins of anti-Semitism (dossier)

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