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'Teach-in' at U of T

On Wednesday, February 13 a non-partisan teach-in was held at University of Toronto entitled ‘War in the Gulf: The University Reflects.’ The purpose was to consider the background, causes and implications for the future. The teach-in was endorsed by the University of Toronto Faculty Association and Staff Association, graduate and undergraduate student associations, Campus Chaplains, and by Science for Peace. The basic idea for a teach-in came from John Valleau, and in the many hectic meetings of the planning committee John Valleau, Jean Smith, Eric Fawcett, Chandler Davis, Terry Gardner, Schuyler Lighthall (National Co-ordinator), and Robena and Alan Weatherley were involved to a major extent. Indeed the basic pattern of the teach-in was very much according to the plans of Science for Peace, though many other people made major contributions. The committee also received much help from the University of Toronto President’s Office, in the persons of Trish Bongard, Peter O’Brien and John Kirkness, and also by way of funding to the amount of $2,500. The morning session of the teach-in was held in Hart House, the afternoon session in Convocation Hall. Joan Foley, Provost of the University of Toronto, formally welcomed participants and audience to the afternoon session.

Despite the unexplained absence of ‘a representative of the Department of External Affairs’, whose presence as a speaker in the final afternoon section had been promised, the teach-in provided a very useful forum for broad discussion of a great range of Gulf War issues, with plenty of opportunity for audience participation. Despite some slightly rancorous disputation, most participants, whether speakers or audience, treated the teach-in as an opportunity for serious dissection of the problem and as a chance to learn more concerning the historical, political, economic and human background.

If there was a major regret by the organizers it was that the maximum audience attending was about 400, and that fell off to about 150 by the end of the afternoon. An historian who recalled a U of T teach-in on the Viet Nam War stated that the Gulf teach-in was a far superior event for quality of speakers and content, but 6,000 attended the former at Varsity Stadium. In post-mortems it was suggested that general public apathy over the Gulf War was a contributing factor to the somewhat disappointing attendance, but also (an important lesson) that publicity measures for the teach-in were probably inadquate. The programme for the teach-in is given below.

War In The Gulf; The University Reflects

Wednesday, 13 February

The University of Toronto is holding a nonpartisan teach-in on the war in the Gulf, its background, its causes, and implications for the future. (Endorsed by UTFA, UTSA, GSU, SAC, Campus Chaplains’ Association, Science for Peace.)

Morning Session in Hart House Theatre

9:00 a.m.: The Destructiveness of War. Moderator: Metta Spencer, Sociology/Erindale, U of T, editor, Peace Magazine.

  1. The Human Cost. Aida Graff, Arab Canadian Women’s Network; Frank Bialystok, education consultant on interethnic relations; Dawn Roach, student, Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee.

  2. The Environment. Jacques Berger, Zoology, U of T.

  3. The Economy. Joyce Kolko, author; Keith Krause, Political Science and Centre for International and Strategic Studies, York.

  4. The Truth. Ann Medina, independent producer; Barrie Zwicker, media critic.

Afternoon session in Convocation Hall

12 noon: Musical interlude. Peter Lutek, U of T. 12:15 p.m.: Introduction. Moderator: Bob Shantz, University Chaplain, U of T.

Welcoming Remarks. Joan Foley, Provost, U of T. Remember the Victims: The Morality of War. Ursula Franklin, Metallurgy and Materials Science, U of T.

12:40 p.m.: The Historical Background. Moderator: Bill Graham, Philosophy/Scarborough, U of T.

(1) The Region. James Reilly, Middle East and Islamic Studies, U of T; Atif Kubursi, Economics, McMaster University; Paul Rose, History, Haifa University (visiting York); Gideon Gera, Dayan Institute of Tel Aviv (visiting Centre for International and Stategic Studies, York).

(2) This War. Edward Herman, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; John Harbron, journalist, Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies; David Goldberg, History, York, Executive Director, Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East. 3:30 p.m.: A Thoughtful Look Ahead. Moderator: Kenneth McNaught, History, U of T.

To be announced: A representative of the Department of External Affairs. Leonard Johnson, Major-General (ret.), Chair, Project Ploughshares, Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group. Mady Gilchrist, nurse, Voice of Women representative on Women for Mutual Security. John Kirton, Political Science and Centre for International Studies, U of T. Anatol Rapoport, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, U of T.

6-8 p.m.: Workshops on: Restoring and Preserving the Peace; Political Action in the Search for Peace; Israel and the Palestinians; Oil and the World Economy; The War and the Environment; Military Alliances; The Role of Pacifism.

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