Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Students want to aid Iraqi scholars


A University of Wisconsin student group
discussed Monday the possibility of bringing one or more displaced
Iraqi students to UW, in efforts to raise awareness to the cause.

The Campus Antiwar Network and its
supporters hope to waive tuition and possibly support the students
with grants to pay for room and board.

"Iraq is well-known amongst the
ancient world as a center for learning," said Faraz Parekh, a UW
senior and CAN member. "It is one of the first places to invent and
implement a successful irrigation system, and under Hammurabi — two
millenniums before the common era — one of the first written codes
of law."


According to Parekh, Baghdad University
had nearly 43,000 students in 1988, bigger than UW-Madison, which
currently has a student body of 41,000.

"Most classes now function at 10 to
20 percent their usual capacity," he said. "It is estimated that
between 250 and 1,000 professors have been killed, 78 alone in
Baghdad University."

The Iraqi Student Project was founded
in the summer of 2007 and modeled after the Bosnian Student Project,
in which from 1993 to 1996, 150 Bosnian students came to U.S.
colleges with tuition waived, UW freshman Jenny Wustmann said.

According to Wustmann, recruiters would
work with Iraqis in Iraq, Syria and Jordan to impartially identify,
test and screen students. The students would be recommended to
colleges in the U.S. based on academic records, language abilities,
economic need and likelihood of success.

"We are under no illusions that this
project will, in any way, mitigate the pain that our government has
caused the Iraqi people," UW sophomore Sam Finesurrey said.
"However, we do believe it is one small step in the right direction
— hopefully, the first of many."

UW sophomore Chris McKim said though he
would support the project, CAN should modify its strategy and set
logistic details regarding the ISP.

"I just feel that they're taking
too much of a 'charging at the administration' approach," McKim
said. "I feel that this is something [where] the administration
would be willing to work with them, if they were to come to a table
with a set plan on how they're going to do this."

McKim said he supports the idea, but
not the method.

"Don't make it about the war, don't
make it about the U.S. government, just make it about those kids
coming to the U.S. to get an education," he added.

CAN hopes to place nearly 40 students
in the U.S. as early as fall 2008, Wustmann said. The students would
not be required to represent Iraq or participate in any
extracurricular activities, but rather would be regular UW students,
she added.

UW spokesperson John Lucas said Dean of
Students Lori Berquam is yet to meet with CAN representatives and
refused comment until then.

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