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President Arthur J. Rothkopf ’55 addressed challenges presented by the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism in the following campus-wide email today.

Dear Member of the Lafayette Community:

The ongoing war in Iraq presents great challenges for our campus community and the world.

I welcome the opportunity for open discussion of the war, the world, our nation, and ourselves. Such discussion began yesterday, as we returned to campus following spring break, with students and faculty coming together on the Quad and in Colton Chapel to exchange ideas and opinions in a public forum.

In the coming days and weeks we will surely continue to discuss the many issues surrounding the war formally and informally, in public and private settings. I trust that the spirit of free and open discourse, which is at the heart of our community, will continue to guide us as we do so.

Regarding challenges, some members of our community may understandably find this to be a time of great uncertainty and anxiety. As the American Psychological Association explains, and indeed our own common sense tells us, many factors come to bear on how the war affects individuals, including whether one has family or friends directly involved in the conflict, one’s country of origin, political and religious beliefs, and experience with other wars in the past.

For students who are feeling anxious or troubled, you will find that counselors in the Counseling Center, chaplains and religious advisors, and staff members in the Dean of Studies Office, Office of Residence Life, Office of Student Activities, and other administrative offices are ready to help you.

Because the nation’s heightened alert to the possibility of terrorist attacks may be another source of uncertainty and anxiety, it is important to note that the College has for many years had in place a detailed emergency response plan that is revised and updated on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety of the campus community.

The Office of Public Safety, under the direction of Hugh Harris, has worked with federal, state, county, and local law enforcement and public safety authorities since the Sept. 11 attacks to increase the College’s timely awareness of possible terrorist threats with the potential to affect the campus’s safety and our preparedness to respond to such threats.

I’ll conclude by noting that, beginning today, the Colton Chapel bells will ring each weekday at lunchtime as an invitation to prayer and reflection in the chapel or wherever each of us may choose.

Arthur J. Rothkopf

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