The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has expressed its gratitude to Wake Forest University President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. for the university’s response to the distribution of a Holocaust denial publication on campus.
Brittanie Zelkind Werbel, associate director for the ADL in North Carolina, recently wrote a letter to Hearn commending the university for its “excellent response” to the March 16 distribution of The Revisionist as an advertising insert in the student newspaper, the Old Gold and Black. The ADL, the Jewish Student Organization and others on and off-campus condemned The Revisionist, a 24-page booklet, for denying significant details of the Holocaust.
“As you know, the University has sponsored and is contemplating various programs, lectures and displays in order to facilitate teaching about the Holocaust,” writes Werbel. “Both the content and variety of these programs are commendable.”
Zelkind also expresses the ADL’s appreciation for the president’s leadership in shaping the university’s reaction to The Revisionist.
“In addition, I want to thank you individually for taking such a sincere and personal interest in righting this situation,” Werbel continues. “Your leadership has helped to ensure the success of the programs, as well as send an unambiguous message as to your personal feelings regarding (Revisionist publisher Bradley R. Smith’s)offensive propaganda.”
Following the appearance of The Revisionist on campus, Hearn issued an open letter to the entire university community. In the letter, he called The Revisionist’s content “offensive and deplorable” and declared “it is preposterous to suggest that the Holocaust did not happen or that its scope was minimal.”
Hearn also noted that the decision to include The Revisionist in the newspaper “was made without consultation within the student newspaper’s editorial staff and with no conferral with the larger community.” He called on the paper to review its advertising and editorial processes to ensure proper consultation in the future. A week after The Revisionist appeared on campus, the Old Gold and Black issued an apology and announced plans for policy changes.
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