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Journalist rips Wayne St. for ending award

Dec. 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM
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DETROIT, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Journalist Helen Thomas ripped Wayne State University in Michigan for ending a diversity award in her name, saying the school mocked the First Amendment.

The university ended the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award last week after she made controversial remarks in Dearborn, Mich., about what she saw as Zionist control of American institutions. When announcing the end of the annual award, Wayne State said it pulled the prize and "strongly condemns the anti-Semitic remarks made by Helen Thomas."

Thomas told the Detroit Free Press in an article published Monday the leaders of Wayne State University "have made a mockery of the First Amendment and disgraced their understanding of its inherent freedom of speech and the press."

Thomas, 90, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, added, "The university also has betrayed academic freedom -- a sad day for its students."

Some Arab-American leaders joined in criticizing Wayne State's decision to pull the award named after Thomas, who grew up in Detroit and graduated from Wayne.

During remarks Thursday at a diversity conference, Thomas criticized the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and discussed money in politics, saying, "Congress, the White House and Hollywood, Wall Street are owned by Zionists. … No question, in my opinion."

Thomas, a longtime White House bureau chief for United Press International and one of Wayne State's best-known alumni, retired this year as a Hearst columnist after she was recorded saying Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine."

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