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PLU Event Shows Solidarity For 43 Missing Student Teachers

November 12, 2014

PLU Event Shows Solidarity
For 43 Missing Student Teachers

‘PLU for Ayotzinapa: The High Stakes of Educating in Violent Times’ banner
‘PLU for Ayotzinapa: The High Stakes of Educating
in Violent Times’ Scheduled for Nov. 14

By Sandy Deneau Dunham
PLU Marketing & Communications

TACOMA, Wash. (Nov. 13, 2014)—Pacific Lutheran University faculty members and students have organized a binational evening of solidarity for the 43 student teachers from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico, who disappeared in late September, and for their families.

Called “PLU for Ayotzinapa: The High Stakes of Educating in Violent Times,” the event is designed to learn about, acknowledge and remember the people and events involved in this crisis. A panel discussion takes place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in the Regency Room of PLU’s Anderson University Center. From noon to 8 p.m. Friday, an installation in memory of the 43 students will be on display in the University Center.

According to news reports, the student teachers from Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa were last seen Sept. 26, when they were taken to Iguala police headquarters after a confrontation. The government said the students were there to boycott a political event, but the students said they were there to raise funds for their school. Based on revelations over the past weekend, it now appears the students have been killed, though their remains have not been identified.

Event Details
What: PLU for Ayotzinapa: The High Stakes of Educating in Violent Times.
When: 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14.
Where: Regency Room, Anderson University Center, Pacific Lutheran University.
Admission: Free and open to the public.

Mexico is one of PLU’s “Gateway” countries, and the university has had a program in Oaxaca for approximately 10 years, said PLU Professor of Hispanic Studies Dr. Tamara R. Williams, Executive Director of PLU’s Wang Center for Global Education. “Over 100 Lutes have graduated from the program, many of whom now serve the Latino community in the U.S. or have secured jobs overseas, including in Mexico, and many of them are now teachers,” she said.

“PLU also is fortunate to have four Mexican-identified faculty, including Adela Ramos, Chris Gerzso, Carmiña Palerm and myself, as well as a growing number of current students that self-identify as Mexican-American or Mexican,” Williams said. “For these reasons, and because of our collective dismay at the horror of these events and our sense of solidarity with teachers killed while seeking to improve the lives of their communities, we decided to plan this event.”

At the PLU event, Dr. Ami Shah, PLU Visiting Professor of Anthropology, will provide opening remarks regarding the high stakes of educating in violent times in a global context. A panel discussion will follow, featuring Dr. Chris Gerzso, PLU Visiting Assistant Professor of English; Dr. Jordan Levy, PLU Assistant Professor of Anthropology; José Ramón Ortigas, Associate Instructor and Ph.D. candidate at UC Davis; Dr. Adela Ramos, PLU Assistant Professor of English; and Williams.

The student teachers’ names will be read during the installation of remembrance, with refreshments following.