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Demonstrators Accuse Kinko's of Censorship

By Wesner P. Moise

A small group of demonstrators picketed in front of Kinko's Copies yesterday to protest a firm employee's refusal to copy a conservative student group's fliers late Wednesday night.

Carrying posters with the slogans "Boycott Oppressors," "Thought Control, Inc.," and "Stop Censorship," the group of about 15 students from various campus conservative organizations protested for an hour before disbanding.

But an ad-hoc counterprotest formed by 2 p.m. and soon swelled to a noticeably greater size than the conservative group.

The conservative group was protesting a Wednesday incident during which two members of the Association Against Learning in the Absence of Religion and Morality (AALARM) tried to make copies of an anti-abortion flier at Kinko's.

The two, E. Adam Webb '93 and Kenneth D. DeGeorgio '93, were refused service by an employee who said he was gay and resented AALARM's public stance against homosexuality.

"I believe when an organization discriminates against an ideal, you're one step away from abridging our right to free speech," said Fred DeCaro '93, one of the students demonstrating yesterday.

The students held up posters calling for theboycott of the Kinko's Copies store and urgingpassers-by to print copies at Gnomon copy shop.

A Kinko's employee said the employee whorefused to print the copies had been reprimanded,and that it is against company policy to refuseprinting copies because of the beliefs of thecustomer.

Adriana K. Foss, communications director forthe Kinko's Service Corporation, has apologizedfor the actions of its employees.

The store manager, who is out of town untilMonday, could not be reached for comment.

Webb said he wanted to pursue legal action inthe incident. But Joshua E. Burstein '93, abystander at the protest and member of the CivilLiberties Union of Harvard (CLUH), said that hehad been informed by a civil liberities lawyerthat AALARM probably could not win in a lawsuitagainst Kinko's.

But Burstein said CLUH believes that "everyoneshould have the right to copy everything anddistribute everything. Basic free speech alwaysapplies."

The counter-protesters formed by about 2 p.m.Members of Bisexual, Gays, and Lesbians StudentAssociation (BGLSA) and other individuals shouted,"Who are the real bigots?"

Members of the opposition group said they wereparticularly angered by some of the "hypocritical"claims in the posters of conservative group,including "Kinko's Discriminates: Stop Bigotry."

"They're doing a really pathetic job of tryingto appropriate for themselves the slogans they areso dedicated to suppressing," said Alex Marashian'92, a counter-protestor.

Haibin Jiu contributed to the reporting ofthis article.

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