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Words Of Hate

April 25, 1993

I'm surprised that the University of Wisconsin so quickly dismissed defining hate speech as being unacceptable conduct, not unacceptable speech. Sexual-harassment laws are based not only on what is said but also on the relationship between the individuals and the circumstances under which the comments are made.

Using conduct as the guideline, the "destroy the Zionists" remark in the elevator, if made during a conversation between the man and the Jewish woman, would have been an expression of opinion. If, however, the two were riding silently and the man said it, he was harassing her. The fraternity parties, while insensitive, were only parties. The intimidating comments in the hallway and library were acts of harassment.

STEVE PEMBERTON

Anaheim

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