The Campus Project
Published: 1995-05-01

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After bemoaning the fact that the Campus Project had been undercut irreversibly for the 1994 / 1995 school year, toward the end of March I received some unexpected funding for it.

I suggested as much in the letter for April that you should have received. It was very late in the season, but we managed to pull off a substantial coup nevertheless.

The contributor suggested she could pay for running perhaps three ads at mid-level colleges. The cost would average perhaps $150 per ad. We would use the same ad I submitted in the 1993 / 1994 season with such tremendous results—“A Revisionist Challenge to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.”

I was concerned that I might submit the ad to three campus papers, say, that all might reject it, that it might take 10 days, two weeks or longer for me to be certain of the rejections, and by then we would be too far behind the curve to have an effective project for the season. I countered with the idea of submitting the ad, along with a cover letter, to some 200 mid-level colleges. The cover would ask the advertising manager to inform me how much it would cost to place the ad in her paper and the earliest possible date she could run it, and the mechanical width of her paper’s columns. I would offer to send photo-ready copy, reduced or enlarged to fit her format, together with a check for the full cost of the ad immediately upon receipt of the necessary information.

My contributor was worried that we might receive too many offers to run the ad, that it would exceed her budget. What would we do if we got positive responses from 20 or even more papers? I told her not to worry, that The Lobby had spent so much collective time and money over the last four years to convince campus editors to refuse my that I wouldn’t expect a substantial response to the package. Anything we got would be effective, and quite a surprise to our friends in The Lobby. She said I might get a surprise myself, that from her reading, people are more interested in hearing what revisionists have to say today than they were even two years ago.

CODOH ad challenging the US Holocaust Memorial Museum

This is the essay / advertisement we' re talking about. It's been seen and most likely read by perhaps 150,000 college students, faculty and administrators during March and April of this year. (Click on it to enlarge; the text has been rendered as a separate web page here.)

While the package would be addressed to the advertising manager, it would get to all the editors and to their editorial staffs as well, even if it never saw the light of day in their papers. Along with the ad I would enclose an opinion piece on how my whole life I have watched Jews forwarding intellectual freedom for Americans and how mainline Jewish organizations have turned their backs on their own tradition in this country and now argue against open debate and a free press.

This was an easy project to do. I had only to write the cover letter, print 200 copies of it and the ad, print out the address labels for the colleges, stuff the envelopes and send them on their way. I didn’t even have to write any checks. Magaly took care of the whole project in one afternoon.

I was more than a little surprised by the reaction we got to the package. Ad managers at 44 (forty-four!) campus newspapers offered to run the ad. My contributor had had a better feeling for the situation this time than I’d had. It's what I call a happy learning experience. The downside was that we were facing a $6,000 and maybe $7,000 promotional bill when the initial budget was to be less that $1,000.

Not to worry, however. One by one, as word of the project got around, the ad managers, editors, faculty advisors and no doubt school administrations began to hear from, I suppose, the Very Best People, who suggested in the persuasive way they have for suggesting such things, that it would be very bad to run the ads and very good to suppress them. Which is what happened in many instances.

Nevertheless, at least 17 (seventeen!) colleges and universities ran the Museum ad. At some campuses where I was offered space, I was too late and simply missed the last issue. Some papers had only one more issue to print and didn’t want to run the ad because there would be no chance to run reactions to it. One paper in Missouri forgot to insert the ad and apologized. At Salisbury State University in Maryland, the ad was ripped off the final layout page just hours before it was to be printed at command of the faculty advisor. Some papers informed me that while it was too late in the season this year they would be glad to run it next year.

While we’re not sure yet how many student newspapers ran the ad, or are still going to run it (there are two I can’t yet name, just in case), we do know that among those which did run it include:

  • U Tennessee at Chatanooga, TN
  • U Missouri at Rolla, MO
  • U Nebraska at Kearney, NE
  • SUNY at Binghampton, NY
  • Glendale Community C, AZ
  • U Wisconsin at River Falls, WI
  • Radford U at Radford, VA
  • Loyola College / Baltimore, MD
  • U New Orleans, LA
  • Bryant C at Smithfield, RI
  • De Anza C at Cupertino, CA
  • Providence C at Providence, RI
  • Salt Lake Community C, UT
  • Western Oregon State C / at Monmouth, OR
  • Northeastern U at Boston, MA

This suggests that the axiom about nothing being over until it's over is profound indeed. These are mid-level colleges and won’t cause the same level of controversy we created last year. The papers in this list average print runs of 4,000. Readership would be about twice that, particularly when a CODOH ad is printed. That suggests that upwards of 150,000 college students, faculty and administrators read the text during March and April, in every case at a campus where in all likelihood no revisionist text on the Holocaust story had ever before seen the light of day.

We think one reason why this really last minute effort paid off so well is that this is the same list of newspapers we sent the Cole/Piper video to November last, along with a package of printed materials. We thought at the time that we would have a lot of college newspaper editors and their staffs scratching their heads over Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays. There must have been plenty of back room talk about the video in many an editorial office, and when the ad showed up on their desks four months later they were somewhat prepared for it

By the way, the lady who originally offered to fund the three ads, if I could get them published, picked up the tab for the entire seventeen. May the gods bless her.


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: The Campus Project
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 23, May 1995, pp. 1-3
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Published: 1995-05-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 19, 2015, 6:10 a.m.
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