Students participate in panel discussion

Over 100 students unexpectedly turned out last Wednesday to listen and participate in a controversial panel discussion that strived to present the opposite opinion on America’s response to September 11th. The discussion, filled with both heated and calm moments gave students faculty and staff the opportunity to hear different viewpoints regarding Islamic beliefs, African-Americans’ patriotism and the media’s coverage of the events.The classroom consisted of approximately 130 eager students wanting to make comments and ask in-depth questions to the panel. “If the goal of the panel was to provoke thought then that goal was accomplished,” said student coordinator Cheston Auzenne. Sophomore Mieaka Moore, said as a student who is still trying to form his own opinions he appreciates the other viewpoint that differs from what he sees in the media. “The discussion was informative and enlightening. Everyone who spoke had legitimate reasons to support his or her viewpoint,” Moore said. “It was nice to hear the other side.”The “No More War, No More Hate” event was coordinated by Assistant English Professor Dr. Shane Graham, who wanted to present a discussion among the SHSU community on why we should look to other options besides war. In addition to Graham, members of the faculty panel included Dr. Christie Fox Visting Assistant Professor of English, Dr. Bernadette Pruitt Assistant Professor of History and Dr. Nicholas Pappas Associate Professor of History. Members of the Muslim community were also involved including leader of the Muslim Student Association Adhallah-MuhhammdBey. With the anti-war theme being at the top of discussion other aspects were not slighted. Dr. Pruitt spoke on the controversial topic of African-Americans and patriotismAlthough she acknowledged historical events in the country that may sway African-American’s views, overall ” African American are in fact patriotic,” she said. Pruitt explained the patriotic split of the Black race with many having a deep love for this country which is evident through military enrollment and others harboring unpleasant feelings.In response to interested students who wanted insight into minorities’ feelings regarding to 11th, Pruitt said there was no easy answer. Dr. Cheryl Anisman Associate Professor of the Psychology department, told audience members she was on the verge of offering her expertise in pyscology to the F.BI. when she began to suffer discrimination at American airports due to her Muslim faith and Jewish last name. Anisman said those experiences of being repeatedly delayed, searched and frisked gave her mixed feelings regarding the government. She has not offered her services to the FBI. The pro-war position was not absent with heated comments coming from Dr. Keith Hendrickson of the History department and several students who agree that war is the most productive answer. Panel members agreed the media has given the public all of the reasons in support of going to war while not looking at any other alternatives. “(Dr.) Christie Fox and I organized the panel with lots of help from students and collegues.” Graham said. “We started it because we were frustrated.”Fox learned of the tragedy from a neighbor around 9 a.m. on the eleventh and said she did not believe him at first. When she turned on the television she watched the news coverage “until I had class at two,” she said. Fox said that her inspiration to start the panel discussion was due to her fear that she would be ashamed America’s reaction.Fox said she does want Bin-Laden brought to justice, although she does not have a concrete non-violent suggestion at this time. What she is sure about is her opposition to the killing of innocent people in an effort to catch him.Although the panel was composed of anti-war spokesmen, Graham said finding those people was the hardest part. “A lot of people told us that they share our reservation about the war, but I think they’re afraid to take part because they might be branded “unpatriotic.”Graham said the intention of the discussion was not to change anyone’s mind. All we can do is give them food for thought,” he said. Junior Natalie Thomas said she has a neutral stance regarding the war efforts but appreciated the opportunity to hear both sides of the issue.Graham said he and Fox have discussed starting an on going lecture series in order to explore certain topics in-depth. ” Whether we pursue it would depend on the response of the student body.” Thomas said she would actively participate in additional events and forums regarding these issues. “Yes, I would definitely attend,” she said.

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