Residents of Lovejoy Hall have had a chance to express their opinions on the war in Iraq, thanks to a public forum pasted outside a room on the fourth floor. The board includes opinions from several people and offers both pro-war and anti-war sentiments.

This board was started about three weeks ago, when sophomore James Thomas placed a message supporting the war on the fourth floor hallway of Lovejoy. Thomas stated that he first posted the message in response to “the failure [of] others to support the troops.” His initial message was ripped down.

“I probably insulted a lot of people,” Thomas said.

After the message was removed, Thomas taped the message together and hung it up on his wall again.

Eventually, the comment attracted more responses from various hall members.

Sophomore Michael Newmark first left a message on March 25.

“The opinion that had been posted in the first place basically blasted protesters as anti-war losers,” Newmark said. “I wanted to respond in a civilized way.”

A dialogue started, and this dialogue remains on the wall.

Others have also added their thoughts, pictures, articles from the “Onion,” syndicated columns and newspaper photos.

The forum spans nearly the distance from the center door to the doors of the two next rooms.

The additional posts started after Thomas put up a sign inviting opinions. “Feel free to place your comments,” it reads. “It is your ‘right’ and [you’re] not going to hurt my feelings.”

The hallway seems glad to have the message board available. “Everyone reads it,” sophomore Geoff Cline said.

Thomas is glad that debate like this is possible in the United States. “That’s what’s great about being able to be here, everyone can have a response.

UR has had problems with signs and messages being removed or vandalized. Most of the problems have been with pro-war statements, such as those posted by the group Students for Saddam’s Destruction, although anti-war postings have also been vandalized.

Newmark was thankful both sides of the forum could remain intact. “I was really happy that the tradition at UR of not respecting other people’s opinion had changed,” Newmark said.

Postings to the forum have slowed down in the last few days. Newmark posted a new message on Wednesday, and both Newmark and Thomas expressed hope that the posts would continue.

Newmark’s main concern is that those in favor of the war are becoming closed off to such arguments.

“I’m sad to see the campus become polarized,” Newmark said.

Brown can be reached at cbrown@campustimes.org.



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