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War, Terror, and Violence: SAU on How To Handle The Topic of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 

Above: Harvard students a part of Harvard College Palestinian Solidarity Committee protest. Photo courtesy of Miles J. Herszenhorn. 

With the continuing war between Israel and Palestine, confusion remains rampant throughout countries; from what is going on to who to support in this conflict. In the face of a confusing time, many St. Ambrose University faculty and students say it is necessary to strike up conversations about the conflict, especially in the classroom. 

“We are somewhat numb about this particular issue, so we want to refresh our memories and want students to be aware of what is going on throughout the conflict,” says Dr. Kim, an SAU political studies and international studies professor and head of Model United Nations for SAU. 

“Things the university can do is having healthy and constructive meetings and discussions inviting key stakeholders or experts to have open discussions about what things we can do about this.” 

Dr. Kim says that he, in his classes, encourages his students to act in the role of different stakeholders in this conflict, from Palestine to the United States to Israel. He says that this is one of the ways that can spark knowledge and insight in students. Dr. Kim also explains how he wants to allow students to learn how “this conflict can affect the United States and its economy.” 

Above: Columbia University students hold rally. Photo courtesy of Spencer Platt and Getty Images. 

This issue concerns a student of SAU, the president of the SAU Model United Nations (MUN), and a political science major, Megan Weisrock, who says, similarly to Dr. Kim, that the topic should be talked about in classes. Megan says, “ The professors discussing it should have a stake in the complex nature of the issue. The religious, political, and international components of the issue make it complex and sensitive, I would be disappointed to hear any conversations happening around campus that do not frame the issue in this light.” 

However, the question that remains is how? An executive member of the SAU MUN, MacKenzie Kent, gave some great insight on how to influence these students to remain mindful and unbiased on this issue.

“Having speakers may help enlighten students on the conflict. To make the situation more prominent in students’ minds, I would say to send out newsletters or updates on the conflict, refer students to a resource to learn more, or hold an open forum for students,” suggests MacKenzie. 

Without the means of free discussions with no biases, thousands of students attending schools such as Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, and many more campuses have performed walk-outs, protests, vigils, and so much more to incite awareness of the war.  However, this is causing mixed reactions, some of worry and some of hopefulness. 

Above: Columbia University students protesting. Photo courtesy of Jeenah Moon and Reuters. 

Megan is one of many who says she feels hopeful about these protests. “I think protests taking place at universities set a good precedent for the stance organizations, such as schools, can take on these issues,” says Megan, “I know St. Ambrose is a non-profit, making taking stances more difficult, but still, denouncing acts of genocide is very important.” 

However, not everyone agrees. Such as MacKenzie Kent who says, “Some school protests have been pretty targeted and hateful, and I do not think that is right. Hateful protests foster negative and unsafe environments for students to properly focus on education.” 

SAU faculty and students have made a point to focus on learning and being aware throughout this conflict, and very clearly plan to continue doing so. As President Amy Novak stated in her campus-wide email sent when the war started in October, “May we remain rooted in our daily prayers for all, and for an end to war, terror, and violence and the suffering that it brings.”

Mallary Helmig is a staff writer for The Buzz.