International PSE Briefs

Harvard University newspaper publishes ad questioning Holocaust

As reported by CNN, Harvard University is under public scrutiny for an ad published in its campus newspaper.

On Tuesday The Harvard Crimson, said an error in communication led to the publishing of the Holocaust-questioning advertisement that was rejected by the paper over the summer.

Crimson president Maxwell L. Child released a statement Wednesday.

“We want to stress that we do not endorse the views put forth in any advertisement that runs in The Crimson, and this case was no different,” Child said in a letter to Crimson readers. “We will work hard to avoid such lapses in communication in the future, and hope our readers will accept that yesterday’s error was a logistical failure and not a philosophical one.”

The ad was paid for by Holocaust denier Bradley R. Smith and his Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust.

Smith said he is not surprised by public reaction to the ad because “it’s taboo, and has been taboo from the beginning. When you break a culture-wide taboo, supported in theory and practice by the state, the university and the press, you create a fuss.”

Smith said that he was never made aware of any plan by the newspaper to cancel his ad.

Bernie Steinberg, president and director of Harvard Hillel, a Jewish campus organization, said on Wednesday that the advertisement was “obviously a shock to see.”

Harvard Hillel’s student president, Rebecca Gillette, circulated a letter which said she thought the situation has been appropriately addressed.

“The fact that organizations and individuals like that publicized in this advertisement still exist today is frightening and disturbing, but unfortunately it seems that Holocaust denial will persist for years to come,” she said.

Brown University reports steep drop in endowment

The Associated Press reported Brown University has said it has seen a steep drop in its endowment fund.

The Ivy League school said the value of its endowment fell nearly 27 per cent to US$2.04 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30.

The university said the investment return for its endowment declined 23.1 per cent during the same period.

Brown has made more than US$35 million in budget cuts for fiscal year 2010 in anticipation of the endowment loss.

U of T’s new library fees worry grad students

The Toronto Star reported that beginning Oct. 1, the University of Toronto will require library users from other universities to pay a fee of up to $200 a year for using its library services.

The university says the decision was made to help ease the financial pressures facing the university’s libraries this year.

“These are people who are already getting by on $16,400 a year or less, so $200 is a significant problem for students already tens of thousands of dollars in debt,” said Ian Milligan, a Canadian history PhD student at York University. Milligan said he uses U of T libraries once or twice a week.

Students were previously allowed to access library materials if they came in person with student I.D. as part of a national agreement in 2002.

“This decision is in breach of that policy,” said Marlene Shore, a history professor at York University. Shore said that such a decision might cause other universities to consider implementing a fee.

“What’s to stop the other universities in Ontario from also deciding to charge a fee?” she said.

The U of T said the new fee is not intended to make the university money, but rather to break even.

“This year we couldn’t purchase as many books as we were hoping to,” said U of T spokeswoman Laurie Stephens. “The fees will be going toward any budgetary pressures that we have on purchasing acquisitions.”