As the University community acclimates itself to the war in Iraq, faculty and administration members are looking at several ways to help foster both an educational and safe experience for the campus.
UNM President Chris Garcia addressed the Faculty Senate at its monthly meeting Tuesday, stating that the administration has already taken steps to keep the campus community informed, including the "UNM In Time of War" Web site at http://www.unm.edu/news/war.html. Set up by the UNM Public Affairs Office, the site provides "timely war-related information relevant to the campus community."
Garcia said that the Web page is still in its rough draft stages but that "it's a start." He added that with the war in progress, UNM should be alert to any situations that might occur.
"We are quite aware that the campus needs to be prepared for various contingencies," he said.
Garcia said that the emergency management team, which was organized for the Y2K scare and was mobilized during Sept. 11, has been reestablished. He added that Julie Weaks Gutierrez, vice president for business and finance, is heading up the team.
He said that the team primarily exists to "respond to disasters and impending disasters." Garcia said that an ad hoc committee, as yet to be named, has been assembled with 15 people from various parts of the UNM community, including Faculty Senate, Staff Council and student government, to give recommendations for guidelines to prepare the campus for unforeseen events.
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He stressed that the University is preparing as best it can to promote dialogue about the war and make it an educational process, while practicing the right to free speech. Garcia said that faculty members should begin thinking about how to handle situations, such as the class walkout protest that was organized earlier this month.
With the protests likely to continue on campus, Garcia said that the University is working with the UNM Police Department, the Albuquerque Police Department and State Police to ensure that the University community is not restricted in its rights to speak out against the war.
"We need to have good communication, especially with outside police forces," Garcia said.
He added that the APD and State Police have a different view on how to handle protest situations, but that a University setting must be applied to their dealings with protesters.
Faculty Senate President Beverly Burris also presented the idea of a teach-in for the campus community.
"The Faculty Senate was asked to create educational opportunities about the war," Burris said.
She added that part of the idea of the teach-in would be to promote dialogue and learning. A task force was set up during the Senate meeting to discuss the possibilities of the teach-in.