Protestors hold peaceful counter-rally at Valley Forge Artillery Park

Two miles away at Artillery Park from the Amphitheatre, people of all ages came together for the Rally for Social Justice.

The rally was a “family-friendly,” non-confrontational counter-rally organized by the Center for Education Rights.

“There can be no peace without justice and there can be no justice with racism,” said speaker Karen Porter of the Chester County Peace Movement.

The grass-roots campaign was spear-headed by the director of CER, Phil Stinson, and local community members. The rally spread through word of mouth, posters and their website www.rallyforsocialjustice.org. The counter-rally also gained publicity through articles from the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local news outlets.

According to volunteer organizers Jenny Roberts and Paul Sayko, they were careful to promote the rally as peaceful and non-confrontational. Participants were advised to stay away from the Nazi rally and to show acceptance if any Nazis showed.

Activities during the rally included face painting, performances by local bands, necklace making and speeches from local and national activists.

Eastern students were also among the peaceful protestors. Some came with YACHT, others came with friends.

YACHT co-leader and senior, Amy Gorman appreciated the laid back atmosphere.

“I thought it was a wonderful enviornment. I felt like I was back in the 60s, not that I’ve ever been in the 60s,” she said. “I’ve been to rallies before so I wasn’t surprised to find dancing.”

Sophomore Aliza Mandel said, “I wanted to come here because it’s my community. I grew up here and I wanted to say ‘no’ to these people.”

The rally was not just about protesting the Nazis, but about educating people on tolerance, respect and justice.

“It’s good to be doing something pro-peace instead of just being anti-Nazi,” said junior Emily Lucas.

Other audience members were refugees from the Nazi rally who were disgusted by the other protestors’ violence.

Dave Borsky, Liz Christy, Sam Greenfield and Greg Russo came over after witnessing the escalating violence by the Nazi protestors.

The group was made up of members from Skinheads Against Racial Predjucice and Anti-Racist Action.

“It was getting out of hand,” said Dave Borsky, a student at Ursinus College, about the protestors at the Nazi rally.

According to Borsky and others in SHARP and ARA a man who stopped to ask the protestors what was happening was punched in the face.

Many speakers emphasized the need for peace over violence.

Mike Berg, whose son, Nicolas Berg was recently beheaded in Iraq, was one of the speakers at the rally.

“I ask you all when you leave this place to start thinking about what you can do to make this a place of freedom, a place of peace, a place of tolerance and a place of diversity.”

“I was glad to be able to hear him talk and listen to him, that he didn’t hate the people who killed his son,” Gorman said.

“He is reaching out to the community in order to work against that kind of prejudice and to reach out in love,” she said.

Gorman noticed the contrast between Berg’s approach and the Nazis’ approach.

“It makes me think that our society will never change,” she said referring to Ecclesiates.

“My only hope is in the church.”

Nazis gather at Valley Forge Amphitheatre

On Saturday, visitors to Valley Forge National Historical Park were bombarded with pro and con Nazi propaganda representing one of America’s most treasured rights-freedom of speech.

Supporters and protestors gathered in this high security area to listen to or disturb the white supremists.

The National Socialist Movement, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sponsored the rally. They chose Valley Forge because they believe that George Washington and the other founding fathers shared their vision of white supremacy.

Emotions ran high on both sides as groups chanted and shouted. Many t-shirts featured phrases like, “Eracism” and “Ban Hate,” along with advertisements like “Revolt, Don’t Vote.”

The group leading chants such as “Hitler rose, Hitler fell, you scum Nazis, go to hell” and “Smash races and deportations, working people have no nations” was the Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party.

This group distributed newspapers and literature supporting an equal working class and anti-war propaganda.

A member of the Progressive Labor Party said,

“They don’t deserve free speech, so we are here to disrupt. Silence is support.”

Many onlookers became angry and complained they could not hear the speakers.

“I’m not here to support, I’m here out of curiosity. Those guys have a right to speak, and real Americans would let them speak. I have the right to listen, and real Americans would let me listen,” attendee Milton Parsons said.

Many topics were discussed by the Nazi leaders, such as race mixing, immigration and youth.

One speaker said, “…evil race mixing is the destruction and cultural genocide of our nation. It must be halted so that we can begin the second American Revolution.”

One man justified their beliefs in saying, “You can have black pride, you can have brown pride and you can have Asian pride, but as soon as someone has white pride they are racist. This is why people are afraid to place themselves above others.”

This statement seemed to spark conversation and thought. One woman looked at someone standing beside her and said, “I won’t marry anyone who isn’t American…does that make me racist?”

One rally speaker said, “We stand by ourselves. We don’t hate. We just love our own race first. After we all love only ourselves, then we’ll see about Lincoln’s plan.”

This statement was juxtaposed in the very same speech when he said;

“Hear my words! I want all Jews gone by 2005! Destruction of the Jewish race is necessary. And violence is the only solution.”

Among the crowd was, David Gibson, who had just recently been recruited by the Nazi Party.

“I’m here to keep the spirits of the party up. This rally is mainly to get King George out of office because America has been highjacked by Israel’s priorities…I had some bad experiences with other races, and this group seems to have the most militant and cohesive way of dealing with the problem,” said Gibson.

Obscene gestures and offensive remarks flew both ways. As the aggressive protesters shouted, “Death to facists, power to the workers” and “only cockroaches wear hoods,”

Toward the end a Nazi Party member spoke and said to the crowd,

“I hate what I see. White kids who think they’re black. I see it here.”

The group ended on a confident note, saying,

“One day you will all be one of us whether you like it or not. The country is falling apart and we are the solution.”

Then they all raised their arms and said, “This is the hour for white power.”

History teacher Doug Tyson was at the rally out of curiosity and wanted to see exactly what kind of free speech he teaches his students.

“I think [the Nazis] are insane. But even the insane have the right to ramble on,” said Tyson.

“I’m just curious as to why this hate hasn’t died; what is it about hate that it has survived so long?”

First-year election results close, re-vote planned

First-year elections were held from September 20-23. The offical results were announced on September 24.

Elected positions for the first-year class include president, senators and representatives. There were two seats open for senators and three seats open for representatives.

All three repesentative candidates, Aaron Little, Natalie Cisternas and Alison Cawley, won their seats.

With three people campaigning heavily for the two senate seats the offical election results were close.

Tim Reynolds came in with 114, Phil Storm with 116 and Shannen Shadel with 117 votes.

According to Erin Barefoot, parlimentarian for the SGA, due to the absence of plurality in voting, the votes were incredibly close. Each voter must vote for two senators, but many ballots had only one senator selected.

Phillip Storm, one of the candidates running for a senate seat, was understanding of the re-vote.

“I knew it was going to be a close race. I can understand why the re-election needs to take place. I have faith in the voters and God’s will. What is meant to happen will happen,” he said.

Runners prepare for the Philadelphia marathon

On a hot summer day in 490 BC the Greek legend Philippides ran 26 hilly miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver the news that the Athenian army defeated the Persians. He later collasped from exhaustion.

This legendary story was the inspiration for the modern marathon. On April 10, 1986, the first marathon was held to commemorate Philippides’s amazing run. Twenty-five people entered and Spiridon Louis won in 2 hours 58 minutes and 50 seconds.

This November, Eastern has a number of runners participating in the annual Philadelphia marathon. The race is 26.2 miles long begining at the Philadephia Musuem of Art and ending in Manayuk.

Runners include faculty members Heewon Chang, Ray Van Leeuwen, Albert Socci and students Justin Gelzhiser, Dan Smith and Kevin “Harry” Henderson.

Although the history of marathon running is intriguing, and perhaps somewhat inspiring, marathon running has never been the most popular athletic event. Most runners prefer the shorter distances such as the 100, 200 and 400 meter events.

Others, like business professor Dr. Albert Socci and senior Justin Gelzhiser, find that distance running, particularly marathon running, is where they find their passion.

“I find that when I run I can have time to think about the day’s events, what happened, what I’ll focus on for the next day, and most importantly, time for just God and I,” said Socci.

While new to the area, having just recently moved from Massachusetts, Socci is not new to marathons.

A veteran of more than 15 marathons, his best time was at the Chicago marathon, where he posted a time of 3 hours 14 minutes and 33 seconds, allowing him to qualify for the prestigious Boston marathon.

For the upcoming Philadelphia marathon, training will not be as rigorous as his earlier ones, but he is still a believer that hard work and dedication pays off.

“I believe in a lot of hill work, and especially running a lot of miles–between 75 and 80 a week,” said Socci.

For Gelzhiser, he has had to do quite a bit of training for the event.

He runs five days a week, which includes long runs, speed work and hill work

“I’ve done two triathlons which helped me prepare, but honestly the hardest part is getting enough food to eat,” he said.

If all goes well he hopes to qualify for the Boston marathon in April.

Gelzhiser tries to eat at least five meals a day, as well as snacks in between.

With all the training he comments that he is constantly hungry, and that has been pretty tough to deal with. He tends to run between 30 and 40 miles. Both Socci and Gelzhiser admit that the vast majority of the race is mental.

“If you’ve been training and preparing, by the time you run the race your body is ready,” said Socci. “It’s up to you to force yourself to go.”

The hard work does have rewards. Gelzhiser is looking forward to the upcoming race in November.

“I’ve always loved running, and I really want to take the opportunity to dedicate this race to my parents who have always supported me in everything I’ve done,” said Gelzhiser.

Business Department rated highly in magazine

In the September/October issue of Business Reform Magazine, Eastern’s business department was evaluated in comparison to other Christian schools.

The overall ranking is especially rewarding coming from Business Reform Magazine, which is known for its high Christian standards.

“From what I read, it seems they have a really strong biblical base that integrates spirituality and business,” said senior business major Nathaniel Stutzman.

Stutzman was the first to present the article to the business department.

Eastern was rated number one in the category of “most entrepreneurial,” fifth in the category of “most biblical” and ninth in the category of “degree and course options.”

“First of all, I was happy to know how we were ranked,” said Dr. Josphat Yego, business professor.

An excerpt from the article reflects on the business department’s emphasis on faith integration:

“The Christian worldview and applications of Scripture to day-to-day situations are emphasized in Management courses. [Business as a Profession] pays particular attention to how one’s calling factors in to the business world and sets the basis for the rest of the program’s offerings.”

“I was particularly happy with [that] comment,” Yego said.

He added that “business as a profession” helps students to identify their “skills, weaknesses and interests and potential.”

According to Thomas, 95 percent of the professors are either current or former entrepreneurs.

“I think most of the professors are a good example of how they live their lives…[in] showing how you can be a Christian and be in the business world,” Thomas said.

Eastern’s business alumni have gone on to many different careers. According to Yego, one owns a daycare center, one owns a landscaping business and one owns a private school, which is funded by the government.

“I think our graduates, in their new jobs, are showing that they’ve learned valuable, useful skills from their classes,” Thomas said.

New sprinkler system to be installed on Eastern’s campus

Eastern University is complying with a request made by the state of Pennsylvania concerning sprinkler systems being placed in all university buildings. This request was made after a tragedy in 2000 at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, which claimed the lives of three 18 year olds.

Following the Seton Hall incident, New Jersey passed a mandate stating that all colleges and universities were to be equipped with sprinkler systems in all residence halls by August of 2004. Pennsylvania wanted to enact the same law and follow suit by 2005, but instead pulled back the mandate and requested that all universities put an action plan together.

This action plan includes all colleges and universities using their own discretion in placing sprinkler systems in the schools.

“Eastern has abided and is committed to that plan,” said Rob Smith, director of campus services.

At this time, the university is working on installing sprinkler systems in Warner Library and Doane Hall. Doane A was completed in 2003, Doane D will be completed this year and Doane B and C are pending completion in 2005.

“What awaits us for the future is Guffin in 2006 and either Kea or Gallup in 2007,” Smith said.

At this moment Gough, Hainer and North Campus Hall have a full sprinkler system along with Heritage House, Workman Hall, and the cafeteria area of Walton.

Sprinkler systems will soon be a part of every buidling.

The construction of the sprinkler system will cause traffic to be tight along Thomas Drive for the next few weeks.

“Workers will be digging holes four feet deep and 24 inches wide in Thomas Drive in order to accommodate the six inch sprinkler lines,” Smith said.

As workers place the new sprinkler systems in each building, they are also completing other tasks while each building is off the water line.

“Lights and tiles are being replaced and fully equipped fire alarm systems are being put in residence halls as we work on the sprinkler systems,” Smith said. “This is a project that is costly but will undoubtedly save the lives of many,” he added.

The sprinkler system service alone will cost the school about $42,000. This year Eastern will spend about $36,000 for the work in Doane Hall. Along with the individual costs, there are also fees that must be paid yearly as construction continues.

“The ultimate goal of the school is to keep the students safe and not allow another Seton Hall incident to reoccur,” Smith said.

Political opinions stir up anger

When they reached their office doors on September 22, Dr. Kathy Lee, chair of the political science department, Mark Hallen, professor of communication studies and theatre, and Dr. Wendy Mercier, professor of biology and biokinetics, discovered that they were victims of theft.

“When I got here this morning, I saw that my and Mark Hallen’s door had been stripped of our political bumper stickers.

Later on, Professor Brink found them in the trash can,” Lee said.

Mercier, who did not get to her office until that afternoon, also noticed that her bumper sticker reading, “Kerry Edwards 2004” had been torn down.

Mercier explained that she would rather have people come and talk to her about their differing viewpoints instead of stealing private property.

“They [the thieves] probably did it because they have an opposing opinion and they think eliminating my sign registers their opinion,” Mercier said.

Some of Lee’s stripped bumper stickers, which she has now recovered, have slogans reading “Christians for Kerry,” “Bush Cheney 1984” and “Shame on NRA.”

A few items, like a black button stating “no mas muertos [no more deaths]” were left on Lee’s door. According to Dr. Lee, when Dr. Betsy Morgan, professor of English, saw the stripped door, Morgan said, “They must not have known Spanish or else they would have taken the button too.”

“This is a malignant action, a really malignant and cowardly action. And it’s kind of creepy. But, the bottom line is that, in the end, my vote cancels out the thief’s vote,” Mercier said.

In response to the attack, Lee has posted a sign on her door that reads, “To whomever stripped my door of bumper stickers: Why don’t you have the courage to talk to me about your political viewpoints rather than taking the coward’s way out, slinking around, taking private property.”

Lee alerted all of her classes to the bumper sticker thefts. Sophomore Shawn Murphy, president of the College Republicans, wrote to Lee in response to the incident. According to Lee, Murphy explained that he will be sending an email to the College Republicans on campus and investigating to make sure that the thefts were not done by a member of the group.

“I immediately condemned these actions, especially since it demonstrated a lack of respect for our faculty,” Murphy said.

“College is supposed to be a free marketplace of ideas, and it is being suppressed by such inappropriate actions,” he added.

To the bumper sticker thieves, Hallen poignantly said,

“In the name of Jesus, you ‘mo-fos’ keep your hands off my door. And if you do put your hands on my door – knock.”