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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | DECEMBER 04, 2012 6:30 AM

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Do the right thing

During three and a half years as a UI undergraduate, I’ve experienced the benefits that an interdisciplinary entity such as the Center for Human Rights provides to a very large research university. Closing the cente will eliminate an intellectual hub that facilitates collaboration among otherwise separate disciplines, departments, and colleges.

During my sophomore year, I designed a major in Education Policy through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Interdepartmental Studies program. The yearlong process of speaking with professors across the university and building a body of courses was made easier by professors and staff involved at the Rights Center. They might not remember speaking with me two years ago — but such individuals as Professor Gregory Hamot in the College of Education and Jo Butterfield in  History Department provided invaluable, practical insight that directly shaped my major.

When I began speaking with people involved with the Rights Center, I immediately entered a network of like-minded individuals through which I found my faculty mentor for my major as well as other professors very knowledgeable in my desired area of study.

Had the center not existed, I wonder how I could have tapped in to a diverse group of intellectuals who share goals but who, stationed in different colleges and departments, otherwise might not have known each other.

This is why the Center for Human Rights is important and why it cannot close. As a center promoting interdisciplinary work, it helps overcome an academic culture of bureaucratically separate disciplines working for individual purposes. Faculty, staff, the wider human community, and at least this undergraduate benefit from a more collaborative focus.

Please do the right thing, UI, and keep the Center for Human Rights open.

Liz Schorch
UI student


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