Experts to talk about changes since Sept. 11

Things seemed to be going well for senior Laura Lee Shields and others in her advertising campaign class at the beginning of the semester. They had decided on a project that dealt with investments at the Bank of America.

But two weeks into the class, Shields said their plans changed – and it was due in part to Sept. 11.

While the Bank of America’s investment section was impacted by the terrorist attacks, Shields said her class decided that working on a bigger project in light of the attacks was in order.

“We wanted to do something meaningful instead,” she said.

After some brainstorming, a new plan was formed: host a forum on events triggered since Sept. 11. Tonight in the Special Events Center, Shields and her classmates will see whether their hard work pays off.

The forum’s creators designed the discussion to promote understanding and tolerance toward political, religious and ethnic differences among peers, neighbors and colleagues.

“USF Speaks Out: A Night to Unite” is scheduled to last from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Shields, a committee chairwoman for the event, said the panel of nine experts scheduled to speak will give five to seven minute presentations on subjects including international terrorism, U.S. foreign policy, religious freedom and other topics discussed more frequently since Sept. 11.

Ken Killebrew, an assistant professor for the School of Mass Communications, will moderate. Audience members will be given index cards to write down questions for the panel, Shields said.

Experts on the panel include Robert Blackman, major general for the U.S. Marine Corps at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base; State Sen. Victor Crist, chairman for the Criminal Justice Committee; USF Religious Studies Professor Darrell Fasching; John Horgan, a former diplomat and a foreign intelligence expert; Steven Johnston, a USF professor for government and international affairs; Marco Rimanelli, a professor for international security and foreign policy at St. Leo University; Rich Rome, Tampa postmaster general; Imam Zia Sheikh, director for the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay; and Gil Thelen, senior vice president and executive editor for The Tampa Tribune.

President Judy Genshaft is also expected to attend the forum.Shields said extra security will also be at the event in order “to provide a safe environment for everyone.”

There will be an art show beginning at 6 p.m., as well. Shields said at least 30 pieces of artwork relating to Sept. 11 had been collected Monday. It will be on display in the Special Events Center.

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