By By Katie Weitkamp/Around&About editor
Ron Taylor wore a pin yesterday that said “Stand up keep fighting.” The pin was given to him at a memorial service for Senator Paul Wellstone in 2002. Taylor wore it yesterday to keep Wellstone’s dream of peace alive. The EKU Colonels for Peace and Green party sponsored a teach-in in the ravine yesterday, which saw almost 200 people in the Eastern community stop in and listen for a bit, before returning to class, studies or work. The event lasted from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. and was intended to educate the community on what the lasting effects of this war will be and the effects of past wars.
“We wanted to sponsor dialogue about war,” said Robert Topmiller, adviser to EKU Colonels for Peace. “We want the campus to know we support our troops, but also wanted to educate people about what the war is about.”
Seven speakers gathered information about past wars and current politics. Students as well as others in the community who are opposed to the war in Iraq spoke about not only what they feel about the war, but also what the facts of war and politics are.
Taylor spoke on the efforts of the anti-war movement in the 60s and about how to improve upon what had been done in the past. Taylor was active in the movement in the 1960’s and his goal for the teach-in was to bring a historic perspective to the anti-war movement and to give a sense of what is the same and different in the wars.
“(In the 60’s) it would seem like we took two steps forward, but then someone would burn a flag and we’d take one step back. Then a month later we’d make two more steps forward and someone would bomb a building and we’d take another step back,” Taylor said. “We can’t make those mistakes again.”
Also there were several question and answer periods built into the schedule. One planned event, which was didn’t happen due to technical difficulties was a presentation of the documentary “The Hidden Wars of Desert Storm.” Audrey Combs, president of the Green Party on campus said the documentary discusses casualties, sicknesses and other “underground” issues the public doesn’t normally know about. Combs said if there is enough interest in the future, the groups may show the documentary at another time.
At the end of the event a time for poetry, music and prose was set aside for art that was inspired by the war. With seven back to back speakers, Topmiller admitted in the future he would have done things differently.
“This is the first teach-in I’ve organized,” Topmiller said. “I think I’d put more music (or entertainment) between the speakers.”
Topmiller also said it was hard to get the word out on campus about the event. Joel Caison, a psychology major at Eastern said he didn’t know there was going to be a teach-in on campus, but saw people in the Ravine and decided to find out what was happening.
“There was no publicity and there’s a lack of organization,” Caison said.
Topmiller said that in the future he hopes to get more cooperation from the campus for publicity.
“We wanted to put out a mass email, but we had problems because the administration didn’t agree with the political nature (of the event),” Topmiller said.
Caison was one of the minority who wasn’t pleased with the way things turned out at the teach-in.
“I think things went pretty well. I expected more opposition,” Combs said. Combs said she and the groups she support will “keep trucking till (the war) is over,” spreading their message and educating the public on the issues of war.
Darla Dunn a sociology and psychology major spoke at the teach-in and also was pleased to help get her message out to the community.
“A lot of people are basing their opinion not on facts,” Dunn said. “I think it went great, there are a lot of people here getting good information out to everyone.”
A debate sponsored by the EKU Colonels for Peace will take place in two weeks. Topmiller encourages people who have opposing views to come to the debate.
For more information on the anti-war movement, you can attend an EKU Colonels for Peace meeting on Wednesdays at 3p.m. in the Library Room 108. Also some information presented at the teach-in was taken from www.notinourname.net.