Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Academia reflects: UW perspective contrasts with global memories of the attacks

There she stood. While the dust poured and the concrete crumbled, Lady Liberty continued to welcome the world to her shores. But the haze of dust and blood that enveloped New York in the days after Sept. 11 spread to the rest of the world.

While governments changed their policies and increased security, so did higher education. Today, those governments are turning to higher education in hopes of educating the world’s future in an attempt to avoid another September disaster. The changes are sure to come. Many believe those changes have already occurred. Others are not quite sure.

Chancellors, presidents, professors and students from around the world testify to the state of academics and their lives one year after Sept. 11.

Katharine Lyall, UW System President

BH: How has your job changed since Sept. 11?


KL: My job has not really changed since Sept. 11, but those events have made me and all my staff more aware of risks and liabilities in our campus facilities and programs. We are also gearing up at each campus to comply with SEVIS, the national data reporting requirements for international students.

BH: In your eye, what has been the single biggest change to the UW System as a result of Sept. 11?

KL: The single biggest change has been a heightened awareness of the vulnerability of our campuses as open environments. We are making changes to some buildings to make them more secure, requiring health and evacuation insurance for all students and faculty who go abroad under university auspices, etc.

BH: Does higher education have any new priorities post-Sept. 11?

KL: Higher education has responsibility to foster thoughtful debate about the Middle East and study of different cultures. We also are contributing research and knowledge skills for national security problems.

Leszek Buszynski, professor

Graduate School of International Relations

International University of Japan

BH: Has the higher education system in Japan felt any impacts as a result of Sept. 11?

LB: No observable impact at all.

BH: Has the teaching of international relations undergone any fundamental changes since Sept. 11? Do you teach your course differently at all?

LB: Yes, I now include a section on international terrorism. But international relations in Japan is not taught the same way as in the West. In Japan they stress culture and not war and conflict. Many IR programs in Japan would ignore this issue.

John Wiley, UW-Madison chancellor

BH: Have the events of Sept. 11 changed the way you interact with students?

JW: No.

BH: How has your job changed since Sept. 11?

JW: The job per se hasn’t changed at all. We have all had to put more time in on issues related to campus security and on responding to various changes in federal policies and laws, but it’s more a matter of how much we’re doing [of those things] rather than what we’re doing.

BH: What [Sept. 11] impacts remain on campus?

JW: I guess I’d say the largest impacts have been in areas related to security. I have to be a little careful what I say about the exact nature of those impacts, but everyone knows about the Patriot Act, the related reporting requirements, new rules and restrictions on immigration and visas, etc. Those are the things affecting us most directly in terms of time and effort. I would hope that another impact will be a heightened level of on-campus civility and respect. I say this because of the traumatic shared experience and a vague, general feeling of “we’re all in this together.” We’ll see, this school year, whether that is observed or not.

BH: To what degree will academic freedom be threatened as a result of Sept. 11?

JW: Frankly, no one can say, but it’s a good and fair question. Certainly, the potential was there, immediately after Sept. 11, for overreacting, for witch-hunts and for curtailments of freedom of speech and academic freedom. My sense is that the most dire predictions and worst fears were not realized and that the mood is substantially more reflective and cautious today. So I am optimistic. On the other hand, to the extent that we see overly severe restrictions in access to substances that are deemed hazardous or to information about or publication on such substances [just as examples], academic freedom and access to academically important information will be more restricted than it was before Sept. 11. That is the type of threat to academic freedom I think is most likely. Whether it will prove to be a serious practical problem remains to be seen. I think we all have an obligation to remain vigilant and thoughtful as the country tries to balance security and freedom. They are always in at least some conflict with each other, so it’s always a matter of finding a rational balance.

Jessica Rickert, sophomore and member of the golf team at Wagner College in Staten Island

BH: Describe your personal experience being so close to the World Trade Center.

JR: Six a.m. the alarm rings and I’m off to practice. The day was gorgeous and I brought my “A” game to practice. I shot 39; it’s odd how you remember those strange little details. We headed to breakfast about 8:30 a.m. Shortly after, my roommate and I are returning to our room, when a frantic girl approached us screaming, ‘A plane has just hit the trade center!’ In disbelief, we looked to the sky, and sure enough, there were flames shooting out of the building and smoke billowing in the harbor. My roommate and I stood gawking and then quickly decided to head up to our room to catch the unfolding events on the news. Seconds later and with most of America watching, the second plane hit. Girls were starting to roll out of bed due to the uprising commotion over what was going on. I phoned my parents to first let them know what was going on and then to let them know I was okay. Many of my friends and neighbors whose parents, siblings, relatives and friends worked in lower Manhattan began frantically trying to reach their loved ones. We sat, watching the sights from our room and listening to what the news had to say about it. Shortly before 10 a.m., I was outside the dorm building and witnessed the first tower collapse. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling I felt. I honestly felt as if I was in a horrible scene in a movie. I then thought I was dreaming. How can something like this happen? I remained calm, only because I had to. I had several girls sobbing on my shoulders, desperately trying to reach their family members with no avail. For the next week, as classes were cancelled, we remained glued to the television. We didn’t sleep much and hardly left the room, for fear we’d miss breaking news. News on the attacks, news on possible survivors, and news on the number that perished.

BH: Has it changed you as a person?

JR: Sept. 11, in a sense, has changed who I am as a person. I realized how precious the gift of life is and just how quickly it can be taken from you. As a result of that infamous day last fall, a day does not pass where I don’t speak to one of my family members and let them know each and every time that ‘I love you.’ If anything, Sept. 11 humbled many people. Suddenly, the petty things in your life can never equate to the hurt and the loss the families of the victims were experiencing. I also have never felt nor experienced such a surge in patriotism. Throughout the five boroughs in New York City, there was not a house that stood without an American flag in the window. Everywhere you went, people were singing and playing patriotic songs, “Proud to Be An American” and the national anthem. To this day, whenever I hear either song, I start to sing, sometimes without even realizing it. As this Sept. 11 approaches, I hope many people will take the time to remember those lost and to be with the ones they love.”

Dr. Talal Nizameddin

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs

American University of Beirut

BH: How has your job changed as a result of Sept. 11?

TN: Not directly. We do have more students from other Arab countries to cater for in the dorms and in orientation programs. These are Arabs who either had to endure difficult visa procedures or had experiences of friends/relatives who felt either intimidated or discriminated upon because of their backgrounds. Some of these may have been purely perceptions, but the perception certainly exists. Otherwise, AUB has endured many of the turbulent changes of the last 100 years and more in the region, including the civil war here, and it has continued to operate with the same spirit of business as usual.

BH: Are there any differences in the way you teach your class as a result of Sept. 11?

TN: I taught an international relations class last year after the event, and many references were made to it by students. A part of the course focuses on international terror — that was pre-Sept. 11. But Sept. 11 only served as an example that highlights the way no country can be safe from organized violent acts. There can never be 100 percent security anywhere. It did also serve as a good indicator to many people of the way the U.S. elite is rather unaware of what is really going on in the world.

BH? Is AUB holding any services on Sept. 11?

TN: No religious services are held at AUB. Classes do not begin until later in September.

BH: Are students from Beirut who attempt to attend universities in the United States having a more difficult time gaining clearance? If so, do you think this is justified and how are they handling it?

TN: Yes, certainly there seems to be a delay, if not rejections of applications. I think any policy that enhances security is justified as long as it does not undermine the rights and dignity of individuals. One way these rights can be undermined is by singling out a group or creating stereotypes for individuals to fit into. Unfortunately, there is a trickle of evidence to suggest that there is unfair treatment in some cases, and this is enough to send a message to students that they better avoid the U.S. for the time being. This is unfortunate, because educational exchanges are the best way to enhance greater understanding between people even at the risk of a small percentage exploiting such programs.

BH: Finally, if there is one lesson in international relations to be learned from Sept. 11, what should that be?

TN: That’s a tough question; there are many lessons. But if I am forced to focus on one, then it is this: Foreign policy-making has been far too influenced by the realist school, which justifies all actions for the sake of ‘national security.’ There has to be a shift towards emphasis on international law and order and international justice. The U.S., for example, has supported for too long many bad regimes because it was considered to serve national interests. The price has been high, as Sept. 11 has shown. But the U.S. continues, and the Middle East is a prime example, to support or turn a blind eye to other bad regimes. I hope I am wrong, but I am worried that the U.S. may pay an even higher price in the future, even if you eliminate al Qaeda. The U.S. has a responsibility to promote democratic regimes and to assist in fair economic and social development in the so-called third world. That is the only way security can be achieved for all states and not only the U.S.

Richard Kasschau, University of Houston psychologist

BH: What were your students’ reactions during your first psychology class after Sept. 11?

RK: There was a lot of interest in talking about it. I teach to a syllabus, but there was no way in going with it at that point. We spent an hour immediately after it happened, and the following class we spent another half hour talking about it: the implications of it, what was seeming to unfold.

BH: Being halfway across the country from the attacks, did your students exhibit any particular stress or trauma?

RK: I wouldn’t say there has been much stress, but I haven’t noticed much of that anyway except in the media. There has been some general anxiety here, considering the fact there is a considerable amount of oil and gasoline processing plants. Fifty-some odd years ago, there was a fire at the oil-processing plant here that wiped out almost the entire port. It was just huge at the time it occurred. In terms of hindrance of day-to-day living, I wouldn’t say there was much of that.

BH: Are students ready for a prolonged conflict as a result of Sept. 11?

RK: I think so. My students, like most people, have difficulty understanding the way in which the nature of conflict has changed due to the consequences of Sept. 11. It’s easy right now with great pride and nationalism to say we’re in it for the long run when the long run could literally be decades. We’re fighting a war at this point we’re not sure how to fight. Getting ready for it is also an equally different problem.

Jack Glaser, professor of public policy, University of California-Berkeley

Expert in stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, and racial profiling.

BH: How do you think the events of Sept. 11 will affect international students trying to enter the United States?

JG: Very profoundly. It has already made it very difficult for foreign nationals to get visas and enter and move around freely. It’s especially so for people from predominantly Muslim countries.

BH: Is it fair to profile people from the Middle East, or is it going to be simply another part of life for the foreseeable future?

JG: I think that in the first two days after the event when we didn’t know the extent of the threat, you could make the argument we were facing an imminent threat and suspend certain constitutional rights, and you have to keep in mind the Constitution does not apply just to U.S. citizens. It applies to people who are here in the country. Even then, you could make the argument the government doesn’t have the right to single people out on the basis of race or ethnicity or nationality. At least on a more pragmatic level, you could argue at that time the threat was sufficient enough. I don’t think it’s justified at all. I think we are clearly depriving people of their rights just because of where they come from and not anything they may have done.

BH: Will profiling in academia continue for as long as the war on terror or until people’s fears settle down?

JG: That’s interesting. Three different columnists simultaneously wrote editorials raising the issue of whether or not this war is a real war or just a metaphor for war. If it’s not a real war and if it doesn’t have a real end in sight or a definable end, then I don’t think that is the case. It’s just like the war on drugs or the war on crime, and these are the sort of things that are realities of the world, and it’s probably going to go on for a long time. As long as they characterize it as a war, they will be able to curtail people’s rights in the name of national security.

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