By Melanie J. Knox, Opinion Editor
A five-member panel of ACU professors debated and discussed the war with Iraq Monday night with about 190 students in attendance.
The forum, co-sponsored by the office of Campus Life and the Students’ Association, was billed as an opportunity for discussion and for students to ask questions of the panel.
Each panel member had five minutes at the podium to open the forum. Dr. Arlie Hoover, professor of history, appeared to be the only member of the panel expressing support for the war, while the four others expressed anti-war views.
“The panel felt more pacifistic, against the war,” said Sarah Easter, freshman business major from Orlando, Fla. “But it was interesting to see how they all interacted and maintained Christian attitudes.”
The panel consisted of Hoover; Dr. Fred Aquino, professor of theology and ethics; Dr. David Dillman, professor of political science; Dr. Paul Morris, professor of theoretical physics and philosophy; and Dr. Lynette Sharp Penya, professor of communication.
“[Hoover] was so vocal though, that I felt the sentiments were expressed equally for all sides in arguments and presentations,” said Ben Blake, senior English major from Winters.
Students had the opportunity to ask questions of the panel, either by writing their questions on a card or by standing and asking directly.
Barnard alternately called on students to ask their questions and read the cards handed to him. There was never a pause or lack of questions, as students remained actively involved in conversation with the panel.
The questions ranged in topic from North Korea’s effect on the war in Iraq, the moral responsibility of Christians, the conflict with Muslims in the U.S. military and the relevance of the Old Testament in our church-era society.
The forum ended almost two hours after it begun with a prayer from Provost Dwayne VanRheenen and a plea from Aquino for other students with questions to ask them
“Ignorance is not the solution,” he said.
Barnard said that they are looking into having more forums for students to discuss pressing issues such as homosexuality, affirmative action, multi-culturalism and abortion.
“For students to see how discussions work between various disciplines is a rich experience,” Barnard said.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the cordiality and kindness of the students,” said Aquino.
Both Morris and Dillman agreed.
“I was nervous all day but was very pleased that it was all done in order and good spirit,” Morris said.
“Some difficult questions were discussed in good humor and respect,” Dillman said. “Good questions were asked that expressed real concern and introspection.”
Chad Houston, junior finance management major from Southlake, came to hear other sides of the war issues.
“I have my stance, but I am open to other opinions,” he said. “I heard other sides that I was interested in and would encourage more campus discussion groups.”