Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

War Protests Reach Week Three

Hoya File Photo Philosophy professor Mark Lance, shown here at a protest last spring, was one of the Georgetown faculty members at GU Peace Action’s speak-out.

Amid the ongoing student presence at the Peace Camp set up in Red Square three weeks ago, a new Georgetown voice is now being heard – that of the professor. Several professors joined GU Peace Action in the speak-out against the war on Iraq Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re constantly out here and we’ve been making our point, but we wanted to get the professors involved because there are so many professors here that are against the war,” GU Peace Action member Emil Totonchi (SFS ’06) said.

Wednesday’s event marked the second speak-out since the instigation of the attacks. Although last week students spoke out against the war while the Georgetown community bustled through Red Square in the afternoon, this week, professors were leading the charge. Sociology Professor Mark Lance, who aids in the coordination of the GU Peace Action anti-war mobilization, felt that it was a step in the right direction.

“My strong sense is that the overwhelming majority of professors oppose the war,” he said. “And I’m sure that nearly all would think it a right of professors to be involved in these sorts of things as they see fit . I certainly feel that it is our moral duty to resist an unjust and illegal war in any forum we have available to us.”

While student protestors have felt a severe student reaction – some say that they have been cursed at, egged and severely taunted – the professors seem to have had a better experience.

“I think they treated them with a little more respect,” Totonchi said. “When we speak, there’s more vocal opposition to us on the spot.”

Some participating faculty members, such as biology professor ichael Hickey, acknowledged that there were mixed reactions from passerby.

“A lot of people on campus definitely do support us, but there is also a very negative response,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s their prerogative; they can say what they want.”

The professor speak-out was put together rather quickly, Peace Action members said, so participation was limited to approximately five or six faculty members. Other steps have been taken, however, for professors to vocalize their opinions. In the weeks since the Red Square sleep-in first began, professors have been invited to sign statements in opposition to the war in Iraq.

“As a Georgetown University professor, I support the work to find a peaceful solution to the situation in Iraq,” the statement reads. “I pledge to increase awareness and to spend time educating my students about the war in Iraq, its likely effects and the benefits of a peaceful action.”

Professors then have the choice of pledging to do several things, including keeping students abreast of significant war-related events, spending class time discussing the subject area and helping to spread the word to Georgetown’s faculty.

GU Peace Action member Sasha Kinney (SFS ’06), who is organizing the professors’ statements, said that it is hard to estimate the number of signed statements they have at the time.

“A lot of professors have shown support but said they can’t actually sign for one reason or another,” Kinney said. “We have a list of 30 or 40 professors who may sign. I’d say at least every other professor I’ve randomly asked has signed. They’ve all been really willing to help and very nice.”

Hickey’s experience with professors, however, seems to indicate that although many are anti-war, their sentiments are largely rooted in apathy.

“A great number of them [Georgetown professors] are against war, but they’re not really getting involved or writing to Congress . That’s the general feeling among students, too: `Why should I bother?'” he said.

Those interested in learning more about anti-war events should check the bulletin boards in front of the Peace Action camp in Red Square.

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