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LipstadtGreat news: You can buy Lipstadt's literary masterpiece for less than one quarter of its real price at Barnes and Noble: Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory "Our Price: $4.98 Retail Price: $22.95 You Save: $17.97 Hardcover, 278pp. ISBN: 0641031548 Pub. Date: March 1992"


Dossier on Deborah Lipstadt

Atlanta, Georgia, Friday, April 20, 2001



    Student negotiation leads to Lipstadt as graduation speaker

    By Michael de la Merced
    News Editor

    AFTER weeks of petitions and negotiation, the administration and the Student Speaker Steering Committee announced Tuesday that Dorot Professor of Holocaust and Modern Jewish Studies Deborah Lipstadt will speak at Commencement.

    "This was a victory for the entire student body," said College Council President Christopher Richardson, who worked with the SSSC in securing Lipstadt as a speaker. "It upheld an important tradition and bridged a very serious gap between the administration and students."

    According to University President William M. Chace the Emory professor will speak not as a "keynote" Commencement speaker, but as a "contribution from the Class of 2001 to Commencement."

    "That was the understanding I had with the student committee," Chace said.

    • But Tuesday Richardson and members of the SSSC announced Lipstadt as the "headline speaker" for Commencement this year. E-mail announcements sent from the group early Wednesday morning bore the subject line "We Have a Keynote Speaker."

    Obtaining Lipstadt as a Commencement speaker came after students expressed concern after the administration's announcement that no headline speaker will keynote Commencement. Instead, a new arrangement would give four honorary degree recipients - South African Justice Richard Goldstone, Palestinian Priest Elias Chacour, journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and former chairman of the Board of Trustees Bradley Currey - time for five-minute speeches.

    Lipstadt was the historian whose book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, an examination of Holocaust denial, fueled charges of libel from British historian David Irving last year. According to Irving, the book unfairly denounced him as a Holocaust denier. A British court decided in favor of Lipstadt in April 2000.

    "She's not just a professor," Raghavan said. "She stands out in the academic world."

    "Several students nominated her," Richardson added. "She fits in well [with the honorary degree recipients], and she's an impressive figure."

    Both sides described the process of obtaining Lipstadt as a speaker as one of negotiation, with Chace and the SSSC meeting twice to discuss options available.

    SSSC member Stephanie Martin added that the students' nominations had to fit certain criteria: The individual must have a connection with the Southeast, be an expert in his or her field and have some connection to Emory.

    "We tried to go along with those guidelines as much as possible," Martin said.

    Chace said he told the committee that as long as the speaker "represented individual excellence" and "moral strength," he would consider their candidates. He added that he then decided over the weekend on Lipstadt.

    "I could not come up with anyone better from the committee," Chace said. "… Everyone knows her and respects her."

    Raghavan said working with Chace to obtain Lipstadt as a speaker demonstrated the power of collaboration between students and the administration.

    • But College senior Jennifer Russell, who was on the University Senate's Honorary Degree Committee, said she saw no extra benefit in having Lipstadt speak at Commencement. Instead, she said, it undermined the role of the honorary degree recipients this year.

    "I personally don't see the merit in going to these lengths to having a single Commencement speaker on campus," Russell said. "Not that Deborah Lipstadt isn't high caliber … but the way I look at it, it takes away from the honorary degree recipients. We have four of the highest caliber speakers."

    Both Chace and the SSSC said because of time constraints, Lipstadt would not receive an honorary degree, as is the tradition with Commencement speakers.

    Richardson said as he looked back on the discussions between the SSSC and Chace, he saw fault on both sides of the table.

    "There have been tragic mistakes for both sides," Richardson said. "Students did not submit nominations for a speaker. But they also never believed that their voice would be counted, didn't think it was very important. A lesson can be learned from this."

    As a result of those mistakes, Martin said, students were looking to prevent future problems.

    "A committee will be formed to work with President Chace on the issue of nominating and obtaining a speaker," Martin said. "Students will have a larger voice."

    Raghavan added that the tradition of a main Commencement speaker - and student input in the administration - would continue to exist for a long time.

    "A trend has been set such that students will have involvement until the last day of Emory," he said. "Previously students never had a voice at all during selection."

    Copyright ©2000 The Emory Wheel


Deborah Lipstadt: Mr Irving's request for information

  • WE KNOW the reasons why Deborah Lipstadt was refused tenure at the southern California university where she used to teach, and transferred to her present lowly position at Emory, the "Coca-Cola" university of Atlanta. For court use in future, we should like to obtain chapter and verse. The L.A. University refuses to divulge data on personnel matters. Who can assist? This is believed to be one of the reasons why Lipstadt declined to testify on oath (like Taking the Fifth) in London. [Confidential information to ]

Related links:

link Trial index
link Trial transcripts index
link Trial press clippings index
link DJC Irving vs Penguin & Lipstadt index

Focal Point 2000  e-mail:  write to David Irving