Northwestern University President Strongly Deplores Book by Butz
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Northwestern University President Strongly Deplores Book by Butz

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Northwestern University (NU) President Robert H. Strotz, in a letter to Raymond Epstein, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Jewish United Fund, strongly deplored the thesis advanced in a book by Northwestern University associate professor. Arthur R. Butz, which claims that the planned extermination of Jews by the Nazis was a Zionist inspired myth. Strotz said in his letter that “as a matter of general policy” he does not comment on the substance of publications of faculty members and that “in the ordinary case” correction of erroneous views is best left to scholars in the particular field.

Continuing, the letter stated “This is not an ordinary case. The associate professor published a conclusion which is an insult and affront not only to the living survivors of the Holocaust and to their families, friends and others with religious or ethnic ties, but to all of us who share their deep feelings of moral outrage. Once the publication did receive notoriety, this became an extraordinary situation in which officers of the university did express their personal indignation.

“First Amendment and other rights of faculty members raise complex questions which warrant lengthy discussions. But I do not want such discussions to obscure my personal strongly-held view, which is shared by Thomas G. Ayers, chairman of our Board, deploring the thesis advanced by Mr. Butz and the notoriety and pain which has resulted.”

The letter was a follow-up to an earlier meeting between Strotz and NU provost Raymond Mack with a delegation of eight Jewish community leaders representing the PAC, and headed by Epstein.


At the meeting, Strotz indicated to the PAC delegation that NU is planning to sponsor a series of four lectures on the Holocaust beginning March 28. Arrangements for the lectures have been made in consultation with Rabbi Marc Gellman, director of Northwestern Hillel which is affiliated with the Jewish Federation’s College Age Youth Services. The university will subsequently publish the four papers.

In a related development, the Hillel Foundation Ad Hoc Committee on the Holocaust ran an ad in the Daily Northwestern, asking students not to register for Butz’ spring quarter courses in Electrical Engineering. “It’s not a boycott to get Butz fired–it’s simply an action for students to be able to express their moral outrage,” said David Strauss, president of the Hillel students sterring committee.

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