---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 14:46:25 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Seeds of Protest Growing on College Campuses
STIRRINGS OF OPPOSITION
Seeds of Protest Growing on College Campuses
By TAMAR LEWIN
October 12, 2002
BOSTON, Oct. 10 - Mike McLinn never showed the faintest interest in
political protest, but he has plunged headfirst into the effort to prevent an
American attack against Iraq.
On Tuesday night, Mr. McLinn, a senior at Northeastern University, went to a
planning meeting for a citywide demonstration on Nov. 3. Wednesday night, he
went to the Boston Mobilization office, where two dozen students from Boston
University and Boston College talked about the "No War, No Way" Walk for
Peace on Oct. 20. Mr. McLinn, a computer studies major, has also been
meeting with other campus groups to explore joint actions.
"The only thing I ever did on campus was run the outdoors club, which is about
having fun," Mr. McLinn said. "But this is about saving lives. We're talking
about attacking Iraq, attacking first, which is something this country's never
done before. We're turning into an imperialist power. So for the first time, I
made the decision to act on my angst."
As the threat of military action against Iraq looms, students across the
are talking about the possibility of war. The first stirrings of an antiwar
movement are emerging, even as a few conservative students who support the
president are starting to organize.
"We've made a board with all these pins on it, showing where there have been
demonstrations or teach-ins, or where there are things planned, and we have
more than 135 campuses in 35 states," said Martha Honey of the Institute for
Policy Studies in Washington, who has been helping organize student protests
against military action. "It's growing exponentially, each day."
The movement against an attack on Iraq is still brand new, and most of the
student actions have been small, attracting 100 people on one campus, 300 on
another. It remains to be seen whether a powerful antiwar movement will
emerge in the absence of a draft or, for that matter, a war.
Then, too, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, many Americans, of every age, support
tough action to prevent terrorism. According to a New York Times/CBS News
Poll released this week, most Americans under 30 share the rest of the
views of the president's policies they are generally supportive. But younger
Americans are the most opposed to a pre-emptive strike, and most likely to
think that a war between the United States and Iraq would spread to other
countries in the Middle East.
As recently as two months ago, on many campuses, only a handful of Muslim
students and foreign policy professors were thinking about Iraq. But since
September, more than 10,000 faculty members at universities across the
country have signed an online letter opposing an invasion, posted on the Web
site www.noiraqattack.org. Students from anti-globalization groups and
humanitarian groups are now forming antiwar coalitions with peace groups,
Muslim student associations and others.
"My group, Stop the War!, is working with Amnesty International, the Greens,
the Student Labor Action Coalition, the Muslim students, all kinds of groups,"
said Josh Healey, a University of Wisconsin freshman who helped organize a
teach-in Tuesday and a rally Wednesday. "When I was handing out leaflets, all
kinds of people were saying, like: 'Thanks a lot. We don't want to go to war
about Iraq, but we didn't know what to do.' "
The speed of the antiwar mobilization has struck some longtime college
presidents. "Students are engaging very, very quickly with Iraq," said Nancy
Dye, the president of Oberlin College. "This morning I was struck by a very
large sign on top of an academic building, saying, 'Say No to War in Iraq.' A
new student organization has gotten itself together, and I don't even know if
they have a name yet. There wasn't anything like this during the first gulf
when I was president at Vassar."
But such activity is not seen everywhere: "So far, people seem to be worrying
more about the economy and the sniper," said Stephen Trachtenberg, the
president of George Washington University. "You talk to undergrads and they
don't have any memory of Vietnam. Activism is something their parents tell
At many campuses, support for military action against Iraq has been muted or
nonexistent. But that, too, may be changing. Late last month, Joe Fairbanks
founded the Stanford College Republicans to give conservative students at his
mostly liberal campus a place to voice support for the Bush policies. The
with 200 members, is now planning a teach-in.
"We knew that military action was likely soon, and wanted to give students who
supported it some way to show that to the rest of the students. Military
has become the only way to solve this problem," said Mr. Fairbanks, a
sophomore at Stanford University.
At the University of Texas too, conservatives are planning political actions.
"The Campus Coalition for Peace and Justice has had a couple of antiwar
rallies here, and university campuses always have more antiwar feeling than
America in general," said Austin Kinghorn, public affairs director of the
Conservatives of Texas. "But I think a lot of students here are still unsure.
We're going to set up a debate with the coalition people, and I think that
a huge turnout."
Last year, the noisiest issue on campus was Israeli-Palestinian relations.
tension remains: At the University of Michigan this weekend, hundreds of
students from more than 70 universities are gathering to discuss a campaign
divestment from companies that do business in Israel, a campaign intended to
paint Israel in the racist colors of apartheid South Africa.
On most campuses, the threat of war with Iraq has now become the dominant
political issue with teach-ins and protests so common that prominent academics
cannot meet the demand for their presence.
"I organized the Monday night forum at UMass-Amherst," said Michael Klare,
a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and
defense correspondent for The Nation. "I did M.I.T. last week. And then over
the next two weeks, I'll be speaking at Springfield College, Western New
England College and Simon's Rock. I've had to turn down CUNY and Hunter
in New York, and Stanford and UC Santa Cruz."
On Monday, rallies were held at dozens of campuses nationwide, including
Boston University, where students hung hundreds of paper dolls in Marsh
Plaza, each one, they said, to represent 500 Iraqis killed since the
war as a result of either economic sanctions or bombing.
On Wednesday, a telephone line was set up at Georgetown University in
Washington, and activists were stopping students between classes, and asking
them to call their representatives in Congress to urge them to vote against
allowing the president to go to war.
"I think there's a very strong antiwar feeling on campus," said Shadi Hamid, a
Georgetown sophomore. "It wasn't so much an issue when we came back to
school in August, but in the last two weeks there's been this new sense of
urgency, and the issue has moved beyond the Muslim students."
Building an antiwar movement when students are not threatened by the draft is
not easy. It may be particularly difficult in a generation that has little
with political protest.
"Campus activism at Penn is a bit frustrating because it seems like most
agree with us," said Dan Fishback, a University of Pennsylvania senior.
about the various reasons we shouldn't go to war, and they'll be, like,
totally with you.' But they're not, because they're not involved. They're
to feeling helpless that it doesn't occur to them to be outraged."
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