College Community Asked to be Tolerant
(Communique, October 2001 issue)
On September 17, 2001, Dr. Michael Spitzer, Vice President for Academic Affairs, delivered a message to the entire college community via email. The message must be taken to our hearts and shared with others. It is also important to note that according to Campus Police Chief Rosemary Naughton, the College experienced no incidents of hate during the past weeks.
Last Tuesday's catastrophic events remind us of how precious, yet precarious, human life can be. While we mourn for those who lost their lives, and fear for the well-being of those still missing, let us also remember that among the victims of this terrorism were citizens of numerous countries, followers of various religions, and people of many ethnicities.
As a college community in an urban metropolis, Worcester State College enrolls students from diverse backgrounds, representing cultures from across the globe. We are proud also of our many international students. In the aftermath of Tuesday's calamity, we should be mindful of the fact that some individuals, because of their color of their complexion or their accent, have been singled out and perhaps blamed for what happened. This is especially the case for people who came to the United States from the Middle East. The vast majority of Arab-Americans are loyal citizens of this country, deeply upset by last week’s events. Many of them lost family members and close friends who were aboard the planes that crashed or in the World Trade Center. It would be a glaring injustice and deeply un-American to brand these individuals as terrorists and single them out for harm or abuse.
Similarly, Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, opposes the kind of violence that occurred last week. It would be a sad mistake to punish or harass practitioners of the Muslim faith because of what happened in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Last Tuesday’s events constituted an attack against humanity; humankind, if it is to reach for the best within us all, must be tolerant of those different from ourselves. Let us punish those who committed this crime, but not worsen matters by lashing out against innocent people and creating another group of victim -- this time victims of ignorance, bigotry and hatred. This is especially important on a college campus such as ours, where understanding, toleration, and the appreciation of difference are core values.
Discussion Addressed Teaching Tolerance
(Communique, October 2001 issue)
In view of the recent tragic events of September 11th, and the overwhelming concerns raised by the College community, the Center for Teaching and Learning sponsored a roundtable discussion to focus on sharing strategies that encourage tolerance through dialogue and historical analysis. The event was organized by Helena Semerjian (Health Science) and Julie Frechette (Communication).
Dr. Frechette moderated the roundtable discussion. Speakers included Corey Dolgon (Sociology), Carlos Fontes (Communication), Bonnie Kanner (Psychology) and Henry Theriault (Philosophy/Center for Human Rights). Also joining the WSC faculty was criminology expert, Dr. Fazal Ahmed from Fitchburg State.
The faculty discussed ways in which they could teach tolerance in the classroom and how they provided opportunities in their classes for students to discuss their reactions to the tragic bombings. President Ghosh also participated and suggested that the college could make changes to curriculum to help students understand different world views.