Message to Ithaca College Community on War with Iraq

03/21/2003

Contributed by David Maley

This is a difficult and challenging time for members of the Ithaca College community, as we join with the larger community of the United States and the world in considering the effects and consequences of the war with Iraq. Ithaca College is a community with diverse views and opinions on a range of issues, including whether the war is necessary and justified. We not only value the rights of our students, faculty, and staff to hold these views, but we consider it imperative for them to share their beliefs with one another and with others, in a manner that is respectful of that diversity.

President Williams made it very clear, in her essay on academic freedom that appeared in the Ithaca College Quarterly last year, that, "It is more important than ever that campuses be safe havens for the exchange of ideas, even if you -- or I -- do not agree with all of those ideas. . . . I believe firmly that it is crucial for us to listen to and try to understand differing and divergent points of view on important questions."

In the days and weeks ahead, there will be many opportunities for members of the Ithaca College community to speak -- and also to listen -- to one another. We encourage faculty, where appropriate, to engage students in their classes in discussions about the war -- their thoughts, feelings, and fears -- and to use this significant event as an opportunity for learning.

The campus community should also take advantage of opportunities outside the classroom by participating in forums and other activities sponsored by the College, student organizations, and others interested in providing perspectives on the conflict. Television lounges in the residence halls and locations in the Campus Center will be available as places to gather and view media coverage of the war. We recommend that students, faculty, and staff avail themselves of media outlets that will provide a broad range of viewpoints on events in Iraq.

Many people find comfort at such times in talking with close friends, family members, and trusted faculty and staff members. Muller Chapel is available as a place for reflection and prayer when religious services and other events are not scheduled, and the chaplains are available to provide support as well. For students who feel the need to talk to a professional counselor in a confidential setting, we encourage them to contact the counseling center at 274-3136. Walk-in crisis hours at the counseling center are Monday through Friday, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Information on additional programs and events will be posted on a regular basis, as needed, on Intercom and elsewhere on campus.

As President Williams said in the aftermath of September 11, 2001: "As students of the world, we have a duty to learn and to share our knowledge with one another, as well as to help and understand and accept each other. Higher education can be key to helping students -- and indeed, the general public -- better comprehend these world-changing events and the implications of what may come next."

We are confident that this community will consider these values and use them to guide their activities.

Peter Bardaglio, provost and vice president for academic affairs
Brian McAree, vice president for student affairs and campus life

Contributed by David Maley

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