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The controversy over the appearance of an anti-semitic passage in the Dartmouth Review last month has sent tremors rippling through the world of conservative college journalism.
While some young conservatives are denouncing their brethren from the north, others are lashing out at what they see as a self-righteous attempt by the liberal establishment to discredit the outspoken Review.
The anti-semitic quote appearing in the Review was taken from Hitler's Mein Kampf and published next to its credo late last month.
The president of the Review, C. Tyler-White resigned early last week, but denied any responsibility for the quote's appearance. Review editors have maintained that the passage was inserted by someone outside the journal.
The split within the conservative intelligentsia has filtered down to the ranks of the Harvard Peninsula, a conservative journal that debuted last spring.
Chris G. Vergonis '92, a member of Peninsula's council, condemned the Review for the incident, while one of his Peninsula associates jumped to the Dartmouth magazine's defense.
"We and the Dartmouth Review are very different. They did something very bad and very wrong," Vergonis said. "I don't think anti-semitic remarks should reflect on conservative views."
"A lot of things they've done in the past have been in poor taste and are not representative of mainstream conservative thought. They often go too far. We don't offend people for the sake of offending," Vergonis added.
In recent years, the Review has been a thorn in the side of Dartmouth's administration. In addition to churning out vitriolic prose, editors from the paper took sledge hammers to anti-apartheid protestors' shanty towns and have been accused of harassing William Cole, a Black faculty member.
The Review has often drawn the ire of Dartmouth President James O. Freedman '57, who is widely mentioned as a possible successor to Harvard President Derek C. Bok.
So bitter have the battles been between Freedman and the conservative journal that one Peninsula editor suspects the president of doing a frame-up job to wound his adversaries.
"It's obviously a plant on the Dartmouth Review. James Freedman probably set the whole thing up," said Peninsula council member Sean P. McLaughlin '91.
And Andy P. Zappia, the editor of The Primary Source, a conservative publication at Tufts, also suspects that the Review is not responsible for the Hitler quote.
"We're inclined to think that it might be some form of sabatoge," he said.
Freedman led a student rally yesterday under the theme "Dartmouth United Against Hate," that protested the anti-semitic quotation.
Although few people involved with conservative college magazines are willing to go as far as McLaughlin and supect Freedman of framing the Review, many said that the Dartmouth president has responded to the incident inappropriately.
"The usual rules don't apply here. Freedman just assumed they were guilty," said Charles Horner, an official at the Madison Center for Educational Affairs, a conservative think-tank in Washington that gives grants to campus publications. "The regime at Dartmouth would rather deflect criticism from its real problems."
Horner also said that he is skeptical of the motives behind those protesting the incident. "The controversy is designed to have a negative effect and discredit the conservative point of view," he said. "The controversy is obviously political."
Whether the Review is guilty of inserting the passage or not, Tufts' Zappia said that the negative national press coverage of the incident may indirectly harm other college conservative journals.
"The Dartmouth Review is by far the college conservative newspaper most national in scope and reputation," he said. "It might make fundraising more difficult for some publications."
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