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Dozens of Students Join 'Anti-Anti-War' Group at Brandeis

(The following article ran in the 4/1/03 Edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN); Page A2)

By Elizabeth Mehren Los Angeles Times

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The day the war began, many Brandeis University students staged a walkout from classes. But members of the group United We Stand held a walk-in, remaining in class to show support for U.S. intervention in Iraq.

"We wanted students here to reflect on the fact that they are able to attend classes that they choose, unlike students in a country such as Iraq," said Joshua Wiznitzer, a founder of a campus organization that began just over a month ago with five students and quickly grew to 10 times that size. Wiznitzer said his e-mail list expands daily, as students at Brandeis and elsewhere seek a safe haven for pro-military sentiments.

Their views in support of U.S. action in Iraq put these students in sync with majority opinion in the United States, but out of line with many of their own peers.

Antiwar protests have gripped U.S. campuses, including Brandeis -- where speakers recently denounced members of United We Stand as "freaks" and "crackpots."

Comparable organizations have sprung up at Princeton, Yale and Columbia, said Wiznitzer, adding that some Harvard students also have contacted him about forming a similar group.

All these young champions of U.S. military involvement in Iraq are bucking a demographic tide, said Tobias Harris, another founder of United We Stand.

"Absolutely," he said. "The moment you set foot on a campus with views like ours, you feel like you have a bull's- eye on your forehead."

At a campus rally when war erupted in Iraq, about 500 students "drifted in and out," said Brandeis sociology professor Gordon Fellman.

Because the United We Stand presence accounted for just "five or six people," Fellman said it would be more accurate to call the group "Divided We Stand."

Jon Lerner, another United We Stand member, said his position pitted him against some faculty members.

"Many of our professors are ex-hippies," said Lerner, a 21-year-old psychology major from Connecticut. "They teach that war is bad, no matter what. They are very simplistic.

Copyright 2003--United We Stand, Brandeis University