Anthony Arnove, Charles Jenks, Paola Pisi and Tim Carpenter
David A. Caputo
New York City, NY
Dear Mr. Caputo:
Brian Kelly and Lauren Giaccone should be commended for their actions, not threatened with discipline by Pace University.
It is shocking that the university is trying to control student free speech and clamp down on peaceful protests. And it’s incredible that the Dean of Students disrupted a regular meeting of the campus’ Campus Antiwar Network and Students for a Democratic Society chapters.
Universities are supposed to be bastions of free speech, places where students are encouraged to think, to exchange ideas, and to exercise their freedoms. Not so at Pace, it would seem.
The grounds for discipline are ludicrous. Where does the university have the moral authority to threaten students with possible expulsion for:
1. Failure to register a rally
2. Violation of distribution and solicitation policy
3. Reservation of university space by an unrecognized organization?
Apparently, freedoms of speech and association are relative freedoms at Pace, freedoms to be granted after proper “registration” with blessings bestowed upon organizations that have received the university’s stamp of approval.
Is this America, or has Pace carved out a sovereign dictatorship out of freedom land?
And let’s not forget what these students are protesting. They are protesting death, destruction and injustice. Under President Clinton, many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died due to economic sanctions, according to the UN. He also subjected Iraq to years of continual bombing under the illegal “no fly zones” and bombed Iraq illegally during his Desert Fox campaign.
If anything these students should be praised. You should be joining them in condemning the continued occupation of Iraq.
Resistance to this occupation, and educating people about the lies and crimes that preceded it, are completely legitimate. By confronting the lies that led this country to war, Brian and Lauren are standing in a proud tradition of people who have resisted war, including Eugene Debs, who was sentenced to ten years in prison for speaking out against World War I.
We stand in defense of Brian and Lauren and we demand that Pace University immediately drop all charges against them. And we invite you to join us as we renew our efforts to build the movement to end this war and bring all the troops home now.
Charles Jenks, J.D.
Paola Pisi, Ph. D.
Anthony Arnove is the author of the newly released IRAQ: THE LOGIC OF WITHDRAWAL (The New Press), with an introduction by Howard Zinn. He edited, with Howard Zinn, Voices of a People’s History of the United States (Seven Stories), the long-awaited primary-source companion to A People’s History of the United States. He also edited Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War (South End/Pluto) and a collection of interviews with Howard Zinn, Terrorism and War (Seven Stories). An activist based on Brooklyn, New York, he is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review and Haymarket Books, and is a member of the National Writers Union and the International Socialist Organization. He also has contributed to The Struggle for Palestine (Haymarket Books) and has written for Z Magazine, The Nation, In These Times, Monthly Review, the Financial Times, and other publications. You may hear Arnove debate the occupation of Iraq, and call for an immediate withdrawal, at http://www.traprockpeace.org/iraq_debate_06april05.html
Charles Jenks, Past President of Traprock Peace Center, chairs its Advisory Board and edits the award winning www.traprockpeace.org website. He has spoken nationally, most recently at Socialism 2005, and has written for websites and print media, including Socialist Worker and Labour Left Briefing (UK). His audio recordings of antiwar speakers, such as Cindy Sheehan, Scott Ritter, George Galloway, have been aired by hundreds of radio stations, and his photographic coverage of the international antiwar movement has been published by scores of websites, magazines and books. He has been a lawyer for the poor, elderly, disabled and children for 25 years.
Paola Pisi, PhD in Religious Studies, University of Rome, “La Sapienza”. She is Professor of History of Religions at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. Her teaching and research are focused on archaic and classical Greek religion and ancient Mesopotamian religions, and on theoretical and methodological problems in the study of religions. She published several monographies and articles and organized International Conferences at the Universities of Rome, Milan and Bergamo. She is the editor of Uruknet.info website.
Tim Carpenter, National Director of Progressive Democrats of America, is a social and political activist who, for more than 30 years, has worked for causes such as nuclear disarmament, peace and justice, abolishing the death penalty, defending the homeless, and fighting for clean elections and campaign finance reform. Tim established Housing Now! and Democrats for Peace Conversion (DPC), co-founded the Orange County chapter of the Alliance for Survival (AFS), and helped organize the Orange County chapter of Families Against Three Strikes (FACTS). Tim was a national delegate and served in key positions in the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson (1988), Jerry Brown (1992), and Bill Clinton (1996) and spoke from the podium at the Democratic National Convention in New York City in 1992. Tim was director of the Western Massachusetts Clean Elections movement for the public funding of political campaigns. He also served as a field organizer for Clean Elections’ Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Warren Tolman. Tim also served as Deputy National Campaign Manager for the Kucinich for President Campaign, was the campaign’s state co-coordinator in Massachusetts, and the campaign’s Convention Coordinator in Boston. Tim was a co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org. He has taught U.S. history and government at both the high school and community college levels. Tim is a product of the California State College system where he graduated from Cal State University Fullerton with Bachelors Degrees in History and Political Science as well as a Masters Degree in History.