The following is a response to the letter from some members of the School of Business and Global Studies [“Letters to the Editor,” Nov. 16].
You endorsed the notion that faculty members should hide their opinions from their students while in class. This is nonsense. We are not simply conduits transferring information from one place to another. We have each spent many years of scholarly work in our disciplines. Our opinions are central to the discourse. It is our responsibility as teachers to bring a variety of views, interpretations, and modes of expression-including our own-to our students and to invite the students to express theirs. Each college, program, and department in the U.S. has a particular character and emphasis as determined by the faculty, students, administration, and the mission of the University. It is part of who we are as an institution and learning community.
Referring to the letter sent by the Tent City Planning Committee, you object to the “use of University resources to fund viewpoints not debated in an open forum.” Why, then, were secretaries and other personnel asked-on University time-to distribute to University mailboxes the letter (bearing three of your names) written in response? Furthermore, in that letter the patriotism of members of “a certain church closely associated with the University[‘s] history” was questioned? Do you plan to organize an open forum for discussion of that topic in the near future?
Should we stop advertising, at University expense, guest speakers and performers who express personal opinions about issues that some of us might not share?
Finally, you characterized Debbie Roberts and Steve Kinzie as having “directed” the Tent City plans. No one “directed” me in my part of the planning and coordinating of this event. The Tent City Plans were developed by a committee consisting of five faculty from five departments and three students who are actively seeking answers through Model United Nations and Peace Studies. Many other students and faculty helped to bring the topics of war, terrorism, Islam, and alternatives to violence to open discussion on our campus. I am proud to have been a part of that process.
Professor of Zoology & Environmental Science
The mission statement of the University of La Verne states: “The University affirms a philosophy of life that actively supports the health of the planet and its people. The University, therefore, encourages students to become reflective about personal, professional, and societal values in the light of this affirmation”
Every credible non-governmental source reports that upwards to 7 million people will die this winter as U.S. bombing raids keep vital humanitarian aid from reaching people in Afghanistan. When the rubble clears, will the United States be any safer from terrorist attack? How does bombing the hell out of an already ravaged country, in effect starving out an entire country (70 percent of them women and children), fit into the above statement regarding the affirmation of a philosophy of life?
After waging our “War Against Terrorism” in Afghanistan, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, will we then turn those bombs inward to places like Fort Benning, Georgia, home of the School of Americas? Thousands of lives have been lost in Latin America due to the terrorists we’ve trained right here in the United States. How does U.S. support of terrorism lead to more terrorism (ex. Osama Bin Laden)? Will the flag-wavers look into the eyes of those tortured by graduates of our military institutions and still ask to bring “terrorists” to justice? These are difficult questions that nobody seems willing to address.
Maybe Steve and Debbie, and the rest of the Peace Movement, are wrong. How dare they go through improper channels; how dare they proclaim peace in the midst of Wall Street’s war; how dare they remind the University of La Verne of it’s historic ties to one of the oldest peace churches in the United States; how dare these two University Peace Studies professors circulate written material regarding peace; how dare they speak out to save the lives of innocent women and children; how dare they even attempt to remind us that those we bomb also laugh, cry, bleed blood like ours, and quite possibly pray to a God.
WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) In times such as these it’s an important question. After all, Jesus was the victim of the imperial sword. How many Afghanis share the same fate, death at the hands of the imperial sword? If being “right” means waving the flag over the dead children of others, of perpetuating intolerance and suffering, then I, like so many others, choose to be wrong.
Eddie R. Casarez (’00)
We didn’t go out and pick this fight. Our government didn’t declare war on a country, a people or a religion. We declared war on terrorism. Terrorism against humanity and the right of every human, in every country, to live without fear of car bombs and chemical warfare. You say that we should try reason and understanding. I say you can’t reason with crazy people who have blatantly admitted that their only goal in life is to kill Americans. I say these terrorist bullies drew a line in the sand and dared us to cross it when they bombed the U.S. Embassy in Africa. They dared us when they bombed the World Trade Center. We tried reason, understanding and political pressure, and yet again they dared us by bombing the U.S.S. Cole. We must have looked like an easy target so they pushed us over that line and attacked us on our own soil. You say, “violence begets violence,” I say you’re absolutely right. It’s about time we stand up and say “enough is enough.” All of the freedoms we have in this country have been fought for and preserved through war. Every person, American and otherwise, prays for peace not war, but we pray to win the lottery too. The odds of living in a totally peaceful world forever are probably as great. Peaceful solutions to violence is wonderful idealism, but in reality, it isn’t likely to happen in our lifetime.
My niece is in the Navy and stationed on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Afghanistan, and my nephew is in the Army. I fear for their safety but I am so proud of them. I am proud to be an American. Proud to live in a country where our students have the opportunity to gather and discuss their views and question their government. As a parent I pray that you educators will continue to encourage our youth to congregate, demonstrate and exercise their freedom of speech. I also pray that you will encourage them to participate in our election process, question our politicians, their goals and values, but exercise the freedom to go to the polls and elect the leaders of this country. And I pray that you will teach them patriotism, to value human life and to be proud to be American.
Secretary to the Executive Vice President