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The McKelvy House Scholars invite the campus to join a dinner discussion about torture Sunday evening.

A vegan dinner begins at 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street; no reservations are required. Marquis Scholar Rich Lear ’06 (Stroudsburg, Pa.), a double major in French and government & law, and Danielle Pollaci ’06 (Trenton, N.J.), an English major, will lead the discussion at 6:30 p.m.

Lear offers the definition of torture as the primary understanding of it for the discussion: “the inflection of severe physical or psychological pain as an expression of cruelty, a means of intimidation, deterrent or punishment, or as a tool for the extraction of information or confessions.”

The organizers pose the following questions to consider for the discussion:

Does torture work?
How far should torture go, if it should be used at all?
When should it be considered a human rights abuse?
Should torture be used on a national level as it is in our international efforts?
How has the media affected the issue of torture?
Is there a more effective means of interrogation?

They ask participants to read an article about U.S. torture techniques approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2002 and 2003.

In addition, Lear and Pollaci suggest that participants read about the Stanford Prison Experiment and Iraq prison abuse scandal.

“I have many friends in the McKelvy program, and consider it a great opportunity to combine with my academic program at Lafayette,” says Lear. “Gathering a close group of people in a huge, old house to create an intellectual atmosphere and some great discussions — I’m grateful that Lafayette offers such a community.”

Pollaci joined McKelvy this school year after developing close relationships with members.

“Since my first year I have been working with many of them in organizations like the Students for Social Justice and the Association of Lafayette Feminists,” she says. “Consequently, many of these people became my fellow activists and mentors, and they all encouraged me to pursue my passions.”

Lear is presenting research titled “Where To Go From Here? Choosing Revenge over Forgiveness in a Retributive Approach to Healing the Wounds of Rwanda” at the 19th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) April 20-23. He was advised by Katalin Fabian, assistant professor of government and law.

He is a member of Students for Social Justice, which he says “aims to expand campus awareness of alternative perspectives on local, national, and global issues.” He is also a member of the Association of Lafayette Feminists; Creating a Healthier, Interesting, Livable Lafayette, which sponsors activities for stress relief; and Questioning Established Sexual Taboos.

He is one of several McKelvy residents who have participated in Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students collaborate with faculty on research while earning a stipend. Lear translated and researched the classic French work La Nef des folles, or Ship of Fools, penned by Jehan Drouyn in 1498. He collaborated with Olga Anna Duhl, associate professor of foreign languages and literatures.

Pollaci is involved with the Students for Social Justice, the Association of Lafayette Feminists, the Writing Associates program, the Marquis literary magazine, and Played Out. She studied in the Balkans as part of the Peace and Conflict Resolution Washington Semester Program available to Lafayette students through American University in Washington, D.C.

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program; several Wednesday discussions have been added this school year. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each person’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

In addition, three McKelvy Scholars host a weekly radio program, Two Blocks Past Wawa, on campus radio station WJRH (104.9 FM), that features discussion and debate with guests and listeners who call in.

Previous discussions:
March 23 – Drug War, Poverty, and Drug Trade
March 6 – Nationalism and Patriotism
Feb. 27 – Human emotion
Feb. 13 – Rationale Behind Military Duty
Feb. 9 – Ghosts
Feb. 2 – Death
Dec. 4 – Mind and brain
Nov. 21 – State of music industry
Nov. 14 – Consistent moral arguments
Nov. 7 – Privilege
Oct. 24 – Modern religion
Oct. 17 – Capital punishment
Oct. 3 – Revenge
Sept. 26 – Suicide
Sept. 22 – Sexual lust
Sept. 15 – Envy
Sept. 12 – Themes from A Clockwork Orange
Sept. 8 – Materialism, satisfaction, and poverty
Sept. 5 – Obesity in America

April 25 — Anti-foundationalist critique of philosophy
April 18 – Dark humor
April 11 — Cults
April 4 — Link between ethical behavior and intelligence

March 28 — Five Images of Man

March 7 — Idealized body forms

Feb. 22 — Countercultures

Feb. 15 — Eternity

Feb. 8 — Bisexuality

Dec. 7 — Anger toward computers and technology

Nov. 9 — “Unnecessary” crimes

Nov. 2 — Genetic alteration

Oct. 26 — Social construction of gender

Oct. 19 — Greed as an economic force
Sept. 28 — Value

Categorized in: Academic News