Campus Struggles to Make Sense of Events

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Like all Americans and people around the world, GCC students are attempting to recreate some semblance of life as they lived it prior to Tuesday’s horrific terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C.

While this campus chose to remain open on the day that chaotic day, students are still faced with trying to balance school work with the struggle to make sense of it all. Instructors across campus have responded in varying ways to the aftermath.

Richard Kamei, professor of sociology, stressed the responsibility of schools to help students understand the nature of such attacks. He has chosen to address the issue head-on. ?I devoted my last two classes to open discussion of the recent events,? Kamei said Thursday. “I let them vent, but I also played devil’s advocate by asking them questions such as ‘Were you surprised by the attacks?’ and ‘Why do you think we were targeted?'”

Reactions varied, but students moods seemed to go from a state of shock immediately following the events to grief and fear, followed by animosity toward the perpetrators.

“There was a lot of anger, and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t misdirected,” said Kamei.
Levon Marashlian, professor of political science, also incorporated the day’s news into his classes.

What Marashlian fears is an overreaction to the events of this week that may limit our civil liberties. The FBI and CIA are likely going to increase the number of files they hold on U.S. citizens.
But minor inconveniences like longer waits at airport security checks are necessary to restore a sense of safety to the country, he said.

As a teacher of Middle East politics, Marashlian is active in efforts to minimize bigotry and racism. He is adamant that people must be careful about how they direct their anger. “I want to emphasize that even in Osama bin Laden is the person responsible for these acts of terrorism, that we don’t project blame onto all Arabs and Muslims, just as we would not blame all Americans for what Timothy McVeigh did in Oklahoma City.

“Especially in Glendale, where there is a large group of Middle Eastern students on campus, we don’t want to nurture any actions rooted in hate,” he said.

Kamei agreed, saying that the issue “goes beyond the color of our skin,” and that we need to maintain a certain amount of “intercultural sensitivity.”