As the United States continues to threaten Iraq with forcible
disarmament and concerns mount over North Korea’s nuclear
weapons program, President Bill Chace again urged the Emory campus
to maintain civility and mutual respect.
In a Feb. 1 open letter to the community (see
letter), Chace made the plea while endorsing
a recent statement by the Association of American Universities about
free speech on college campuses. The president’s sentiments
echo those he expressed last semester, which resulted in an ad hoc
committee of Faculty Council looking into how Emory faculty can
facilitate open and honest communication in times of potential unrest.
Bruce Knauft and Jim Grimsley, the two Faculty Council members who
serve on the ad hoc committee, recently met with student leaders
and have come up with a plan should the United States invade Iraq.
Grimsley said the group is looking to facilitate a “teach-in”
on the Quadrangle on the day hostilities begin. Unlike similar events
that already have been held on other campuses, the event would not
necessarily constitute a plea for peace, he said.
“That’s not what we’re planning,” said Grimsley,
senior resident fellow and director of creative writing. “We
want to arrange for speakers on all sides of the issue and get everyone’s
ideas on the table.”
However, calling the event a “moving target,” Grimsley
said time is critical; the United States could attack Iraq before
prepations for the teach-in can be completed. If that happens, the
campus may just have to cross its collective fingers.
“Given the unprecedented nature of the United States entering
an unprovoked war,
I don’t know how the students will respond,” said Knauft,
Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology.
In the meantime, other scheduled events accomplish Chace’s
goal of directing energies toward education and exchange rather
than divisiveness. Two such events are planned for this Thursday:
the Joint Activities Committee-sponsored Public Issues Forum, to
be held at 4 p.m. in 208 White Hall, will feature former Emory president
James Laney (who served as U.S. ambassador to South Korea from 1993–97),
who will speak on “U.S.-North Korea: Where Are We Heading?”
Later that night at 7:30 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium, the third annual
State of Race Debate will feature three panelists who will address
“Racial Profiling: Pre- and Post-September 11.” The
discussion will be moderated by John Ford, senior vice president
and dean of Campus Life.
Also next week is the new “Arab Awareness Week,” organized
by the Arab Cultural Association. Through films, lectures and panel
discussions, the weeklong event seeks to “clarify misconceptions
about Arab people that have been portrayed through the media,”
according to association president Ruaa Al-Baldawi.
“I felt it was my duty as an Arab American to educate the
Emory community about the identity of Arabs, our peaceful and rich
culture, and about how we have learned to adjust to the American
way of life,” Al-Baldawi said.