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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Faculty roundtable is met with mixed responses

‘You have to start somewhere’: students left the roundtable with mixed emotions
Professors+Molly+Dugan%2C+Harvey+Stark%2C+Sahar+Razavi+and+Jaime+Jackson+at+the+faculty+roundtable+Tuesday%2C+Oct.+17%2C+2023.+Each+of+the+professors+spoke+on+part+of+their+area+of+expertise.
Ruth Finch
Professors Molly Dugan, Harvey Stark, Sahar Razavi and Jaime Jackson at the faculty roundtable Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. Each of the professors spoke on part of their area of expertise.

Faculty members organized a roundtable event to help students learn about what is happening between Palestine and Israel as well as let their voices be heard, but they were met with mixed responses on Oct. 17.

Harvey Stark, professor and chair of the humanities and religious studies department, organized the event alongside Sahar Razavi, assistant professor of political science and director of the Iranian and Middle Eastern Studies Center.

RELATED: Students rally at Sac State in support of Palestine

Stark and Razavi both spoke in the roundtable and were met by fellow professors Molly Dugan, professor of communication studies, and Jaime Jackson, assistant professor of political science. Stark said he hoped to bring the Sac State community together with this event.

“It’s not a political debate on the crisis in the Middle East,” Stark said.

The sentiment was echoed by Razavi who wanted to participate in an event that helps educate students on “the least understood aspect of the roots of what’s happening now” as well as gives students a platform to express themselves and be heard.

“We care and those who are affected, their voice matters; your experience matters to us,” Razavi said.

Stark shared that part of why the roundtable came about was because he was speaking to other faculty members and they felt it was their responsibility as professors to help students.

“I think our goal locally is to help our students who are either confused or feeling afraid or feeling unheard to be heard and not afraid,” Stark said.

The roundtable was set up with the four panelists on a small stage in a semicircle with the audience completing the circle.

The panelists each spoke on their subject of expertise. Stark spoke and answered questions involving religion and humanities, Razavi and Jackson did the same for political science and Dugan spoke on media coverage of the crisis.

When Dugan mentioned that Gaza doesn’t allow foreign journalists, an attendee shouted toward the stage asking for more information. This prompted Stark to explain the panelists would speak first before taking questions.

Some students left the roundtable feeling disappointed with how the discussion went.

“I do think discussions about what’s happening in Israel and Palestine are important,” senior English major Sidra Nawaz said. “I don’t know if the way the discussion today was what you would consider successful or even productive.”

Other students attended the event to become more informed on the topic and left happy they attended, including Citlali Galvan, a freshman psychology major.

“I think we got some pretty good exposure because you have to start somewhere when it comes to trying to educate yourself,” Galvan said.

First year graduate nursing student Amanda Aikawa felt it was important to attend, but it was a tough task to please everyone.

“This is something that people study and consider, think about for years,” Aikawa said. “Or they have deep family lineages and things and so it’s impossible to do in 90 minutes.”

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About the Contributor
Ryan Lorenz, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Ryan Lorenz is in his second semester at The State Hornet. He is a former Sports Editor for Cosumnes River College's publication, The Connection. He has a strong passion for sports and plans on having a career in sports media.
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