Columnist fired at Rutgers University student newspaper over use of term ‘illegal alien’

by WorldTribune Staff, November 4, 2016

One of the few conservative voices on the Rutgers University student newspaper staff has been fired for his use of the term “illegal alien” in an opinion piece.

Aviv Khavich published his final column for The Daily Targum on Oct. 30. In his piece, Khavich argued that immigration enforcement is not “anti-immigrant.”

Aviv Khavich
Aviv Khavich

Khavich was also speaking from the standpoint of an immigrant. Born in Israel, his Ashkenazi Jewish parents fled Belarus in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse.

The conservative columnist had been criticized for his views. He had also hosted Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, a Trump supporter, for his first U.S. college event.

Khavich demanded that his Oct. 30 column include the phrase “illegal aliens” to describe those in the country illegally.

That was the final straw for the Daily’s editor, who said Khavich repeatedly fought over “stylistic” editing changes to his columns over the past several months, according to the College Fix.

In his final column, Khavich said: “Justice is mass deportation. Justice is respecting my [legal immigrant] family and millions of others like us.”

Khavich told The College Fix in a phone interview that “every instance of ‘illegal alien’ I wrote was changed to ‘undocumented immigrant’ ” by his editors. “But I considered it a part of my opinion to not use” the latter term, which he finds “politically correct and also inaccurate.”

When Khavich complained to his editor about the edited draft, she said the “illegal” edit came from the top: Editor in Chief Dan Corey wanted the column to follow Associated Press style.

The AP Stylebook was revised three years ago to disapprove of using “illegal” to describe a person, as opposed to an action, after having affirmed “illegal immigrant” just a year earlier.

But AP Style also frowns upon “undocumented” – the term used in Khavich’s published column. Khavich says because the term “undocumented” is “not precise.” He noted that federal law uses the term “alien.”

His editor was “not happy” after being confronted, Khavich said, and he was fired the next day.

Khavich wrote four columns for the Daily. His firstdefended Yiannopoulos’s speech as protected by the First Amendment, saying that “offensive speech … needs the most protection.”

Later columns disparaged socialism, questioned the Black Lives Matter movement andpraised Donald Trump as the presidential candidate of “peace” and called Hillary Clinton a “warmonger.”

“I can only arrive at the conclusion, as any reasonable person would, that my termination was a politically motivated move itself,” Khavich wrote in The Tab the day after his firing. He blamed Dan Corey by name and called the Daily “very biased indeed.”

Khavich referred to The Daily Targum editors as “a collection of self-flagellating, bureaucratic leftists that only include the three (now two) conservatives that they do as a way to fill the minimum requirements to be considered ‘open-minded.’ ”