College students rally for nonviolent resolution

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2001

Students staged peace rallies at campuses around the country Thursday and called for nonviolent justice -- not revenge -- for those responsible for last week's terrorist attacks.

''Nerds Against War,'' read one of the student-made signs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ''War Is Also Terrorism,'' proclaimed another sign made by Harvard University students.

Several hundred students gathered at Harvard Yard for the midday rally. From the library steps, organizers pleaded for peace through a bullhorn.

''In denouncing the terrorist attacks, we as a nation must not forget that while we have been grievously wronged, it will do us no good to wrong others in return,'' said Alisa Khan, 17, of Herndon, Va., who described herself as a Muslim and an American.

Rallies were planned at more than 100 campuses, including the University of California-Berkeley and Wesleyan University, in what was being billed as a national ''day of action'' to stop a war.

In Rhode Island, students at Brown University took used rap music, poetry and song and dance to speak out against violence and express anger over the way the media have covered the incident.

At Boston College, about 150 students held a peaceful rally -- but all visitors and media were kept away because the campus was shut down to anyone but students, faculty and staff.

''We wanted the students to have an opportunity to host their rally free from any security concerns that the result from outsiders coming on campus,'' said spokesperson Jack Dunn.

In Amherst, the community's five colleges issued a joint statement imploring the U.S. government to seek justice in a way ''that honors humanity, including through the resources of the national and international legal systems.''

The statement was signed by the directors of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts.

Not everyone favored a peaceful resolution.

Tom Lancaster, 24, of Somerville, Mass., stood on the fringe of the Green holding ''Support America'' signs and engaged in lively debate with some of the students wearing peace signs on their shirts. He thinks the United States has been patient enough.

''I think we've tried it their way,'' said Lancaster, a graduate student in chemical engineering.

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