College group's teach-in aims to educate about war

More than 300 students visit event at Towson U.

February 14, 2003|By Kimball Payne | Kimball Payne,SUN STAFF

Under a banner that read "War is Terrorism No Blood for Oil," students and faculty from Towson University held an anti-war teach-in yesterday to educate their peers about war and encourage them to take a more active role in politics.

"The student component of the anti-war movement is very strong right now," said Virginia Rodino, an assistant professor in the mass communications department and one of the founders of the Towson University Antiwar Coalition, which organized the event.

More than 300 students visited the student union to listen to lectures from faculty members and local activists, and to participate in group discussions on the possible war in Iraq.

The lounge was stocked with supplies for students who wanted to create their own signs and banners, and tables were set up to provide information about other activist groups such as the Green Party and the Student Workers Alliance.

The antiwar coalition, which was created three weeks ago in response to the growing threat of war in Iraq, is made up of about 25 students and members of the faculty. Chris Honecker, a member of the coalition, said he hoped the seven-hour teach-in would educate his fellow students about the importance of politics.

"Politics affect everything you do every single day. It doesn't matter if you're getting a driver's license or going to the bank," the political science major said. "Our society is special because we have a voice. Too many people ignore that right. And you need to exercise those rights, or they'll go away."

Nick Lam, an education major, stopped at the rally when he saw the signs outside a popular food court across the hall. "They had some good points. But they had some bad points, like the guy saying that all war is bad," he said.

Sophomore Sarah West, 20, went to the teach-in. She says she would still support a war backed by the United Nations but not one that the United States pursued unilaterally. She was pleased to see the teach-in on campus.

"It's a great effort on the university's part to get more information than the status quo," West said.

The coalition also used the event to promote tomorrow's planned protests, which are to be held in 528 cities worldwide, according to United for Peace and Justice's Web site.

Bus tickets to the New York City protest were on sale, and information was available about carpools for those planning to attend tomorrow's march in Baltimore, which is slated to begin at 11 a.m. at Camden and Eutaw streets and will end at City Hall, the Web site said. The coalition was also promoting a walkout on classes if war is declared.

"We have no illusions of turning the whole school against the war," Honecker said. "But if we can change some minds and make a difference then that's great."

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