Students to Protest Murray

Bell Curve Author Prompts 'Welcome' Demonstration

Two groups, one spearheaded by members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and another comprised of students from the Kennedy School of Government, plan to protest during Tuesday's public address at the Institute of Politics (IOP) by Charles A. Murray '65, co-author of The Bell Curve.

The IOP address, sponsored in part by the Black Students Association (BSA) and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, is officially titled, "Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life."

Agassiz Professor of Zoology Stephen Jay Gould was slated to respond to Murray's address. But according to BSA President Kristen M. Clarke '97, Gould will be unable to attend the event and Mellon Professor of the Sciences E.O. Wilson will speak in his place.

Murray, along with the late Pierce Professor in Psychology Richard J. Herrnstein, sparked a firestorm of protest across the country with their controversial book The Bell Curve, which presents findings linking intelligence to race.

The protest will begin at noon on Tuesday with a rally on the steps of Widener Library, according to Elliot Ratzman, a student at the Divinity School and organizer for the DSA.


"We're expressing our right to free speech to strongly disagree with Charles Murray and his conclusions," Ratzman said in an interview yesterday.

The protesters will be a loose coalition drawn from the DSA, students from the Education School who banded together last semester to protest Proposition 187, members of various campus ethnic organizations and other interested students, Ratzman said.

"We have established the stage for which people can articulate discontent," Ratzman said. "We're throwing the party, and we're going to see who comes."

The Kennedy School is putting together a group to protest Murray within the forum while other protesters picket outside, Ratzman said.

"[They're] going to ask Charles Murray questions that will make him shake in his pants, contesting him on intellectual grounds," Ratzman said.

Several Kennedy School students, along with advisors from the Biology Department, held a study break last Tuesday to study Murray and Hernnstein's book and educate themselves on its content before the protest, Ratzman said.

The protesters held an organizational meeting Wednesday night, advertising it with posters that said, "Charles Murray, author of The Bell Curve, SUCKS!" The protesters called themselves "The Charles Murray 'Welcoming Committee."'

Less than 10 people attended the meeting, according to Ratzman. The group held an earlier meeting during the previous week, attended by leaders from several undergraduate minority organizations, including Hillel and the Asian American Association, Ratzman said.

"The last thing we want this to seem like is the white man's club with thewhite guys in control," Ratzman said.

The protesters will be unable to count on theBSA joining in the protest, according to Clarke.

The BSA will instead concentrate on promotingdiscussion of the controversial issue, which wastheir reason for sponsoring the address, she said.

"We're doing this in the spirit of continuingdialogue, discussion and debate on the issues,"Clarke said.

But she admitted that protest was probablyinevitable in a forum of this nature.

"The protest seems to be a way of expressingdissent, and I think that's inevitable," Clarkesaid. "The majority of people on this campus haveexpressed dissent."

The BSA prefers to take a different approach toaddressing Murray's conclusions, Clarke said."We've never protested The Bell Curve inthe past," she said.

Clarke said the BSA's November demonstration onthe steps of Widener was not a protest, but an"opportunity to disseminate information on TheBell Curve theory and its flaws, and to raiseawareness.