Faculty inks anti-war petition

by Elizabeth Dunbar

In an effort to show disapproval of President George W. Bush’s plan to attack Iraq, a group of University faculty presented a petition to Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone’s office Friday denouncing an Iraqi invasion.

The petition, started by geology professor David Fox, appeared as a full-page advertisement in The Minnesota Daily on Sept. 17 with the names of 230 faculty members who signed it.

Faculty sent the petition to other universities across the country and Massachusetts Institute of Technology staff posted it on the Internet. It currently has 7,427 signatures – 3,739 of them from faculty members.

Fox said he started the petition because he believes war against Iraq is unwarranted.

“The justification seems ill-founded and the implications of war are very serious,” Fox said.

Kathy Fennelly, a professor at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, proposed the idea to present the petition to Wellstone.

“We felt that it was our number one priority to let legislators understand the breadth and depth of the opposition by faculty members and others,” Fennelly said.

“I’m very concerned about the outcome and the U.S. taking a unilateral approach without taking the opinions of our allies and members of the United Nations into account,” she said.

Wellstone couldn’t meet personally with the faculty members who presented a 3-foot by 4-foot copy of the petition, but Fox said Wellstone’s staff members would present the petition to him when he arrived in the Twin Cities on Saturday.

Fennelly said the group of faculty members decided to present the petition to Wellstone because he is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fox said he also plans to send the petition to the other Minnesotan members of Congress.

After seeing the petition circulate from the University to a national level, Fennelly said she is happy people have a way to express their opinions.

“What we’ve learned since this petition started is that many people share our opposition but hadn’t found a vehicle to express that,” she said. “We’re hoping that this petition and others will give people a voice.”