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Students are invited to join video on Darfur

Students are invited to take part in two upcoming filming sessions for the Speak Out Against Darfur video. The sessions will be from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 and Monday, Oct. 29 in Farinon College Center.

The video is being put together in an effort to show the Lafayette community’s support against and raise awareness of the ongoing genocide in the Sudanese region of Darfur. The vision for the video is to have hundreds of members of the Lafayette community read a statement condemning the human rights violations in Darfur. The various voices and images will be edited together to make one cohesive message. The statement was prepared predominately by policy studies major Chris Haight ’09 (Rochester, N.Y.).

Students who are interested in participating should go to the Speak Out Against Darfur table, which will be located in the Landis Atrium Oct. 25 and 29. Students will then be taken to the filming rooms on the second floor to read a portion of the statement. Students are asked to wear Lafayette clothing and bring any other items that might show support.

Last November, the Board of Trustees issued a resolution stating that Lafayette will develop an educational program to heighten awareness regarding the abhorrent violations of human rights committed by the Sudanese government within the Darfur region.

The Policy Studies program is taking the lead in implementing the educational program with events planned throughout the school year. Policy Studies and the Public Information Office are working together on the video project.

Mark Crain, Simon Professor of Political Economy and chair of  policy studies, says that because of Haight’s hard work, the video’s statement is not just a College-issued message but a true student message.

Haight is an active member in Lafayette’s chapter of Amnesty International, which was at the forefront of the Darfur issue on campus last year with rallies, discussions, and fundraisers. Haight is also helping with the video’s filming and editing.

“I wanted to combine education and action,” says Haight. “Last year, I took an international politics class with Ilan Peleg, Dana Professor of Social Science, and we learned about the genocide in Rwanda and how after these sorts of crises, the world always pledged ‘never again.’ However, it is happening again, and I wanted the statement to reflect how Lafayette, despite its relatively small size, can still play a role in taking a stand against an atrocity now and not after history has been written.”

Leslie Muhlfelder ’81, general counsel and vice president of human resources, helped write a portion of the message and will also appear in the video. President Daniel Weiss and trustees George M. Jenkins ’74 and Douglas R. Marvin ’69 will be part of the video as well.

Crain says that interest in the video project has come from the full spectrum of people on campus including those involved with various sports, clubs, organizations, and administrative and academic departments. Many students have already become part of the project, but he stresses that many more are needed.

“Lafayette students can sometimes be rather insulated from the world outside our campus,” says Haight. “I think it is crucial that we focus on these sorts of issues because this is what is waiting for us after we graduate. In addition to all of the valuable lessons from the classroom, we have to know how real-life problems develop and are resolved.”

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