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09/29/2006

Winthrop Participates in Historic Conference on Guantánamo

Quick Facts

 As part of a national historical project, "Guantánamo: How Should We Respond?" will be broadcast in Withers 401 on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m..
 Winthrop is one of more than 250 colleges to participate in the Oct. 5 event.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University will join more than 250 colleges on Oct. 5 in an historical national educational project discussing "Guantánamo: How Should We Respond?" during a nine-hour live simulcast broadcast.

This is the first conference to study the government’s unprecedented detention in Guantánamo of hundreds of individuals described as "enemy combatants." Public figures such as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times have described Guantánamo as "the anti-Statue of Liberty."

"We're thrilled that Winthrop University is able to participate in such an important event. It is especially timely, given the nation's recent observance of Constitution Day," said Karen Kedrowski, chair of the Department of Political Science. "Winthrop University students will be able to interact with the nation's foremost authorities on civil liberties, international law and human rights, and with their peers attending institutions across country."

Inspired by the techniques of teach-ins of the 1960s but utilizing the technology of the present, the conference will be a collaboration of colleges and law schools around the country. Academics will join journalists, military officers, theologians, human rights activists, lawyers for detainees and released detainees themselves in the discussions.

The Oct. 5 broadcast at Winthrop will be presented in Withers 401 beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m. Organized around a series of panel discussions, the day-long event will be simulcast to participating universities across the country from Seton Hall Law School in New Jersey, allowing those institutions to mix-and-match broadcast programming from Seton Hall with home-grown campus events to explore two overriding themes: 1) whether Guantánamo can exist in a democracy committed to the rule of law and 2) whether and how various communities – journalists, theologians and physicians – should respond to this unprecedented governmental action.

Unlike prior efforts at teach-ins, this is a national program allowing academics and institutions of higher education to come together to consider an issue of great national importance: Guantanamo. In the history of higher education, there has never been a time when so many schools joined together at once and on the same day to consider an issue.

The teach-in is being carried in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Participating schools run from Maine to New Mexico, Florida to Hawaii and Texas to Montana. To date, almost 80 percent of the nations leading law schools have joined.

For more information, contact Chris Van Aller, Winthrop associate professor of political science, at 803/323-4667.


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