Faculty Forum Discusses New Reality
Date: Oct. 24, 2001
In Aftermath Of Sept. 11 Attacks
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photos by Lisa Ventre
Archive: General News
Certainly the opening of the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Forum on Oct. 18 was unlike the start of any event ever held previously at UC.
As the overflow crowd of 175 settled in to hear a faculty panel discuss the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, UC police officer Don Schoonover took the floor. It wasn't hard for him to get everyone's attention - he was dressed head-to-toe in the department's new black battle dress uniform, looking like he was ready to lead a SWAT team raid.
Schoonover's point was not to alarm anyone, but to convey that, like a lot of other things, security on campus would be a little different in the post-Sept. 11 era. "You'll be seeing some of us around (dressed) like this for a while at events on campus," said Schoonover, who then asked everyone to check and make sure no unclaimed backpacks had been left in the room.
His message was the same as the rest of the forum would soon reinforce: Welcome to the new reality.
Six members of the A&S faculty brought their particular areas of expertise to the forum, the first in what new A&S dean Karen Gould expects to be a continuing series. Participants and their areas of expertise included Elizabeth Frierson, an expert on Islam and the Middle East from the history department, and five political scientists: Richard Harknett (international security and global politics), Laura Jenkins (Pakistan and regional politics), Abraham Miller (counterintelligence and terrorism), Thomas Moore (U.S. foreign policy) and Howard Tolley (international law and domestic civil liberties).
"Our ultimate goal is to answer your questions," said Harknett, the forum's moderator.
Powerful testimony came from both Jenkins and Frierson, who drew upon their experiences overseas.
Frierson has lived in the Middle East, once missing being blown up in a bombing by only 15 minutes. She said that while the vast majority of Middle Easterners abhorred the events of Sept. 11, the actual attacks were "only a few drops in a sea of blood that has marked the coming of the Middle East into the modern world."
Jenkins was actually in India for much of September, witnessing first-hand the reaction to the attacks. Support for the U.S. was widespread, she said, but also tempered by issues such as backlashes against Indians in this country after the attack and the new closeness in the U.S. relationship with Pakistan.
She emphasized that security issues have to be broadened from just state terms to recognize the human suffering of poor countries in the region. "If you have a nation with nothing to lose... then we won't really have national security until we have human security more broadly defined," she said.
The forum covered a broad range of topics, from international relations to domestic security and freedom. Questions from the audience were fielded for about 30 minutes.
"Look around this room. You have people of all different colors, different faiths and different backgrounds," Harknett said. "(The attacks) had nothing to do with culture. There's a reason they didn't attack, say, Fiji. This is about distribution of power."
"This is not jihad. This is filthy guerilla warfare," added Frierson. "The question is: How do we as Americans deal with it?"