Protesters At Duke Prepare For Rove

This story was written by Eugene Wang, The Chronicle
Karl Rove's appearance at Page Auditorium Monday will be met by a group of students, faculty and Durham residents protesting the George W. Bush administration's policies on torture and human rights, protest organizers said.

The group will be in orange Guantanamo Bay-imitation detention camp jumpsuits at 5 p.m. outside the speech by Rove, the former White House deputy chief of staff. Members will hand out fliers highlighting specific Bush administration policies the group opposes.

"[We are] concerned about the use of torture and the violation of basic international human rights standards by the Bush administration in the war on terror," Orin Starn, a professor of cultural anthropology, wrote in an e-mail.

He added that the protest is not affiliated with any organized group.

"[We] just decided to do this because Rove has so much been the face of an administration that seems to have so little respect for basic human rights," Starn said.

The group opposes the use of water-boarding, sleep deprivation and temperature extremes in interrogations-methods it claims the Bush administration supports. The handbill they will distribute also draws attention to so-called "torture taxis," airplanes that bring detainees to foreign countries for imprisonment.

According to The Eagle, the independent student newspaper at American University in Washington, D.C., Rove delivered a speech to College Republicans in April at AU that was met with student protests.

Students lay in front of Rove's car after the event while others heckled Rove and his Secret Service detail. Approximately 80 students were involved and six faced arrest warrants following the protests.

Professor of Political Science Peter Feaver, moderator of the event and a former member of the National Security Council staff under Bush and Bill Clinton, said he is not surprised people plan to protest Rove's speech, but does not expect a reaction similar to AU's.

"[Rove] is a controversial figure and of course there are lively debates about the Bush administration policies that he's been involved in," Feaver said. "I'm not surprised there are people who have strong views about it and want those views heard."

He added, however, that protests can either present an alternative view or deny people a chance to hear the presented view. He said the former is a legally permitted form of free speech while the latter is not.

"There should be ways for people to register their disagreements with him without breaking the law and without infringing on the rights of others," Feaver said. "I'm confident that Duke administrators have taken steps so that everyone's free speech... will be preserved."
© 2007 The Chronicle via U-WIRE
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