Peaceful teach-in 'says that war is not inevitable'

October 12, 2001

A teach-in redolent of anti-Vietnam protests during the 1960s is part of the peculiarly academic response to the war on terrorism, writes Alison Utley.

Malcolm Povey, a lecturer in food sciences at Leeds University and organiser of the event next Monday, said: "The teach-in is a democratic and non-adversarial way of saying to people that war is not inevitable and that we can change the course of events."

Dr Povey is a veteran of the teach-in, having run events at the university during the Gulf war and other military campaigns.

"We must flush academics out at a time like this," he said. "It's all well and good being in our ivory towers but there is a real need at the moment to speak to the wider community."

Mathew Caygill, course leader for politics and history at Leeds Metropolitan University, is also part of the academic Anti War Group, which he helped to set up in the aftermath of September 11.

He has torn up his usual introductory handouts and begun the term with a module aimed at understanding the current conflict. "The key will be to get over the level of an emotional response and assess the evidence... If students can learn from these atrocities, we can say we have done something."

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