As she travels the state racking up support and endorsements from local Republican and Conservative party chairs, Wendy Long is emerging a serious contender in the race to challenge U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in November.
But her ties to a Dartmouth College newspaper that routinely courted controversy by mocking black, gay, Jewish and female students could complicate her quest for the Senate.
The Dartmouth Review was founded in 1980 by students disenchanted with the college’s support of co-education, affirmative action and 1960’s liberalism. Long was a member of the inaugural staff, along with future conservative luminary Dinesh D’Souza. She graduated in 1982, but continued to serve the newspaper as a member of its board of trustees. The paper quickly earned a reputation for sharp-elbowed conservatism, a combative attitude and a reputation for mischief.
During its first year, the Review sponsored a free lobster-and-champagne feast to coincide with a campus fast for the world’s hungry. It published a list of members in the school’s Gay Students Association, and allegedly sent letters to the students’ parents about their children’s lifestyle. In 1982, it ran a column in “black English” suggesting African-American students were illiterate.
Yet no controversy echoed as loudly as when it ran a quotation from Adolf Hitler on Yom Kippur.
In October 1990, the Hanover, N.H.-based college erupted after the Review included the quote from Hitler’s biography Mein Kampf in its masthead on the first day of the Jewish day of atonement. The quote included the sentence, “By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”
Long – then known by her maiden name Wendy Stone – appeared at a combative press conference with fellow trustee D’Souza to address the incident. Long and D’Souza apologized, but ultimately blamed it on “a criminal act of sabotage.”
A follow-up investigation by the Anti-Defamation League concluded the quote was the work one or more staffers at the Review. Investigators deemed it “unquestionably an anti-Semitic act.” Long was not involved in the editorial department at the time. Several staff and board members resigned after the incident.
Richard Glovsky, the attorney who led the investigation, said he had no recollection of Long being directly involved in the incident. He did say, though, that the newspaper had fostered a “climate” of anti-Semitism, and that the quote’s inclusion was part of a “malicious pattern” of hate speech
Brian Ellner, a Dartmouth student at the time who helped organize the protest, recalled arguing with D’Souza over his request to address the anti-Review rally. Ellner, who as a senior strategist at the Human Rights Campaign was an instrumental figure in last year’s push to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, said that his conversation with D’Souza and his associates quickly descended into “a shouting match.” According to press accounts, Long was also in Hanover with D’Souza.
“Dinesh called me that morning and asked if he could speak,” Ellner recalled. “They wanted to defend the Review or claim that the insertion of the Hitler quote was sabotage. I said that it would not be possible.”
“The only people who were involved with the Review on a board-level, or really any level in those days, were extreme,” he added, “particularly those who stayed on in the aftermath of the Hitler quote incident.”
UPDATE: After this story was published, D’Souza responded by defending his and Long’s tenure at the review, and denying that the paper was involved in outing gay and lesbian students to their parents. “There are a lot of rumors about the Review floating around–some of these were falsely generated when we were students,” he said in an email.
Long made a cameo in an earlier controversial incident involving the Dartmouth Review. In 1986, seven students associated with the newspaper were suspended after attacking anti-apartheid shanties on campus with sledgehammers. Protesters built the shantytown to dramatize the poverty of black South Africans. The Review students who knocked them down said they wanted to beautify the campus, but critics claimed they were racially motivated. A fundraiser was held in Washington, D.C. to benefit the suspended students.
At the time, Long was press secretary to New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey, who attended the fundraiser. She told reporters that $7,000 was raised for the suspended students, which indirectly went to support the Dartmouth Review.
Long declined to be interviewed for this story, but her spokesman David Catalfamo released this statement: “Wendy Long has been actively involved in advancing Republican-conservative ideals since her days as a student at Dartmouth. She is proud of her association with the Dartmouth Review and her lifelong work promoting the protection of individual liberties and a reverence for the constitution. Any suggestion that true conservative engagement is somehow consistent with or promotes racism, anti-Semitism or any other discriminatory view is repugnant and false.”
Gordon Haff, a co-founder of the Review, said Long was a key member of the team. Haff said while their intention was often noble, missteps were made along the way that undermined the paper’s legacy.
“There were mistakes made,” Haff said, referring to the Hitler quote and others. “In retrospect, with the advantage of hindsight, we shouldn’t have done some of those things.”
Long most recently worked as an attorney for the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network. From that perch, she emerged as a vocal opponent to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She served as an aide to several Republican senators, and her Wikipedia page lists her as an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
In announcing her campaign for Senate, Long was quickly embraced as the favorite of powerful New York State Conservative Party Chair Mike Long (no relation). She is one of three candidates vying for the Republican ballot line this summer for the chance to run against Gillibrand later this year. And many observers believe that as a female candidate, she stands the best chance at unseating the still relatively unknown Gillibrand.
Ironically, Gillibrand herself is a Dartmouth alum. She graduated in 1988, two years before the quote by Hitler was published.
[UPDATE] The headline of the story was changed to reflect the fact that Long was not a founder of the Dartmouth Review, just a member of the inaugural staff.
[UPDATE X2] A sentence in this article misattributing a quote about the education of women to Dinesh D’Souza was removed. The quotation was printed in a 1990 article by the New York Times, which was subsequently corrected to reflect the misattribution. We regret the error.
Tags: adolf hitler, Andrew J. Hawkins, anti-defamation league, anti-Semitism, Brian Ellner, dartmouth review, dinesh d'souza, gordon haff, hanover, Kirsten Gillibrand, new-hampshire, richard glovsky, Sonia Sotomayor, Wendy Long, wendy stone, yom kippur
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