October 20, 2005

Students to debate profiling during forum

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will address the pros and cons of profiling individuals during a forum set for Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Six student panelists, chosen for their ability in public speaking, will make five-minute speeches taking various points of view on this contentious issue. The students will discuss the nature of profiling, why it matters and what effects it has on crime, terrorism, admission to schools, hiring practices and other aspects of society.

The forum, titled "What Role Does Profiling Play in Maintaining a Civil Society?" is free and open to the public. SIUC's Department of Speech Communication and the Society for Civil Discourse are sponsoring the event, which is set for 7 p.m. in Ballroom D at the Student Center.

Organizers say those attending should expect to have their ideas challenged.

"The students will be taking various positions," said Denise Kaye, an assistant basic course director in the department who helped organize the event. "Some of them have been profiled, some are trained to profile. Profiling is an interesting dilemma for our country. It's a really complex issue."

Following the students' speeches, organizers will open the floor to others who wish to speak on the topic.

The event is part of the Students Speakers Forum, which started in 2002. Designed as a learning tool for speech students, the events frequently provide an effective public forum for discourse on important topics of the day, Kaye said. The department holds one such forum each semester, with the topic suggested by students and chosen by a faculty committee.

Creating citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.