More than a dozen students staged a peaceful sit-in rally to protest the presence of an anti-war panel discussion held at the School of Social Work yesterday by the Social Welfare Action Alliance.

“We are not pro-war, but we just want to support Americans,” said Social Work student Darrell Parsons, who organized the sit-in to back U.S. troops overseas.

LSA senior James Justin Wilson said protests against the war undermine the efforts of U.S. troops.

“When bullets start flying, the (anti-war) protest needs to stop,” Wilson said.

The SWAA Forum on Peace Activism covered topics ranging from the futility of military action to the importance of the anti-war movement.

Students who stood against the peace forum expressed their frustration with the University.

Because the Office of Student Services sponsored the event, the University had become officially involved, Parsons said. “I would just like to see the school present a more balanced format for debate,” he added.

University officials and the SWAA were unavailable for comment yesterday.

“Our tuition dollars are supporting a discussion we can’t be a part of. By excluding us, they are silencing the students,” said LSA senior Doug Tietz.

The lack of a second side at the panel also concerned students at the rally.

“It’s the same old ranting and raving we’ve heard,” Tietz added.

“They don’t want to foster dialogue. They just want to teach us how they want us to think,” LSA junior Ruben Duran said.

“We’re for peace too, we’re fighting against terrorism. Those people don’t realize that they are supporting terrorism and Saddam Hussein,” protester and Ann Arbor resident Susan Niethaumer said. “It’s too late and we already have our sons out there giving up their lives. All we have to do is support them.”

According to the School of Social Work website, the SWAA “is dedicated to promoting economic and social justice with the University and the community. SWAA is committed to not only thought and discussion but also activism.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.