Committee Support Letter

Dear Fellow Yale Alumna/Alumnus:

We seek your support for the petition nomination of Michael J. Horowitz '64L as an Alumni Fellow candidate of the Yale Corporation.  We do so because of our conviction that Horowitz’ election and service will enhance Yale’s financial viability and intellectual and political diversity.

Horowitz’ record of accomplishments is as impressive as it is diverse.  He has formed and led broad-based, bipartisan coalitions that have passed such major human rights legislation as the International Religious Freedom Act, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the Sudan Peace Act, the Democracy Promotion Act, the North Korea Human Rights Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and reforms that overrode the Bush administration’s harsh construction of the Real I.D. and Patriot Acts.  Horowitz has led a successful effort to reduce the epidemic scourge of sexual assault in America’s prisons, and has played a critical role in permitting victims of terrorist coercion to be eligible for consideration as U.S. refugees.  He has been a central figure in the historic effort to eliminate the sex trafficking of women in both the United States and abroad–and to define it as the slavery issue of our time.  In the case of North Korea, Horowitz is a key advisor to an underground railroad movement that rescues North Korean refugees, and he is engaged in enlisting the Korean-American community to press for the peaceful implosion of the Pyongyang regime through strategies modeled on the Campaign for Soviet Jewry and the anti-apartheid campaign.  He is also now mobilizing left-right coalitions in three new, major initiatives: 

  • Linking US foreign aid to the satisfaction of baseline humanitarian prison conditions–an effort likely to save tens of thousands of lives per year at nominal cost while strengthening rule of law governance in the developing world;
  • Establishing a cost-effective “medical diplomacy” effort to eliminate forced child marriages and one its most horrific effects:  the devastating condition of obstetric fistula suffered by millions of  incontinent and pariah-treated African girls and women;
  • Shattering the Internet firewalls by which regimes like those in China, Iran, Burma, Tibet and Cuba isolate and control their people–an effort premised on the view that the Internet firewalls of today are as fragile as was the Berlin Wall, an object of Horowitz’ concern during his service in the Reagan administration.

Horowitz taught the first integrated classes at the University of Mississippi Law School, where he is a still-honored figure for his efforts to bring civil rights reform to life, and for his efforts to recruit African-American students while insisting on the maintenance of rigorous and color-blind academic standards. He was an equally distinguished General Counsel of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during the Reagan administration.   

In seeking your support, we call your attention to two issues that cause us grave concern, which we believe Horowitz is strongly qualified to address.

First, we believe that the University’s finances are unduly premised on three false assumptions: that current levels of federal subsidies for students and private universities will continue; that today’s financial unrest is a temporary blip in a long-term trend of rapid endowment appreciation; and that Yale can continue to raise tuition each year without fundamentally changing the composition of its student body or compromising the nature and quality of the academic experience it offers. Horowitz’ work at OMB has given him a keen understanding of the strategies and pitfalls involved in managing large and complex budgets, and his past service on the board of his children’s school has given him critical experience with the tradeoffs between high operating expenses and high tuitions.  Horowitz will serve as a much needed voice of restraint and responsibility dedicated to putting Yale’s finances on a more sustainable course.

Next, we are deeply disappointed by the growing lack of intellectual diversity on campus. Yale’s political correctness was highlighted when the Yale Press compelled the redaction of a Danish cartoon portraying the prophet Mohammad–an incident we believe to be sadly representative of current University policies and practices.  Through Horowitz’ election, we seek to elevate the priority at Yale of a robust and diverse exchange of ideas, an openness to modes of thinking that have been too easily discounted as politically incorrect, and a measure of courage in standing up for the enduring values that will always define great universities.

Horowitz believes that greater respect for traditional culture is in order at Yale, and in the national discourse. As the only Jew to receive the prestigious Wilberforce Award for his work in combating the worldwide persecution of Christians, Horowitz values the contribution of religious groups to the moral progress of our society.  Likewise, he believes that conventional ideas about sexuality have often been dismissed without regard to their particular value to young women, and he believes that such campus “traditions” as Yale Sex Week, where sadists, pornographers and enslaving sex traffickers are routinely celebrated, should be subjected to more vigorous debate about their auspices and effects.  He believes that a lack of political and intellectual diversity in some parts of Yale’s faculty is an issue in need of sensitive but focused attention.

The above said, it must be immediately noted that neither Horowitz, nor we, seek censorship or traditional values hegemony at Yale; to the contrary, the critical hallmark of Horowitz’ candidacy is its call for greater openness, debate and diversity than the University has fostered–or at times even permitted–in challenges to its prevailing orthodoxies.

A political conservative, Horowitz served in the Reagan administration for the same reason he taught the first integrated classes of law students at the University of Mississippi – an ability to think straight about American values, decency and history.  He has been persuaded to run for the Corporation as a means of honoring the immigrant grandparents who inculcated his deep belief that America is a blessed land; his election will help restore the intellectual balance and common sense prudence now so badly in need of  reinvigoration at Yale.

We urge your support for the Horowitz candidacy.

Richard Brookhiser - Yale College 1977
William W. Chip - Yale College 1971
Andrew P. Clark - GSAS 2009
Seth J. Corey - Yale College 1978
Eleanor Gaetan - Yale College 1982
Todd Hartch - Yale College 1989, Ph.D 2000
John Miller - Yale Law & GSE, 1963
Grover J. Rees - Yale College 1972
Michael Rubin - Yale College 1994, Ph.D 1999
Michael W. Steinberg  - Yale College 1974
Diana West - Yale College 1983