April, 2003


The War and Our Role as Educators

By Paul Rogat Loeb
Posted on his "Soul of a Citizen" Web site

In his essay, written on the eve of the war with Iraq, author Paul Rogat Loeb tries to answer the question: "How should we as educators respond to the war in Iraq?" He begins with a campus anecdote from the first day of the Gulf War in which a history professor asks his class to clear their minds of world events because the point of the class is to study medieval history. "Students who'd begun the class visibly upset," Loeb relates, "were soon dutifully taking notes."

Loeb argues that at this critical juncture, students will take cues from educators: "Our response may set a tone for how students view it for the rest of their lives." He lists some essential points for educators to keep in mind for dealing with the conflict, such as creating "safe spaces" where students can express their grief, give their true reactions, and acknowledge the true loyalties they feel.

Loeb's essay serves as a thoughtful primer for educators who face the difficult task of finding the appropriate tone and moral response to guide students through what may be-for many of them-their first mature encounter with a war.

To view the entire article, visit www.soulofacitizen.org/articles/campuswar.htm.

The articles featured in AAC&U Perspectives do not necessarily represent the views of AAC&U staff, its board of directors, or its membership.