February 10, 2003

Chace urges civility on campus


By Michael Terrazas mterraz@emory.edu

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.






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