Ivy conference examines bigotry

by Colin Grey | 11/8/93 6:00am

An Ivy League conference on bigotry opened here yesterday with a lecture and discussion of intolerance on college campuses.

The conference is designed to educate student leaders at Ivy League colleges about the importance of recognizing and eliminating bigotry and intolerance on a practical and intellectual level.

Despite a closed invitation list that includes selected students and professors, participants from several schools missed the opening of the "Alleviating Bigotry on Campus" conference at the Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences.

Delegations from Cornell University and University of Pennsylvania arrived late. Yale University had not contacted the organizers of the conference, said Roxanne Waldner, assistant director of the Rockefeller Center.

The series began with a luncheon at the Hanover Inn followed by an informal lecture by Sociology Professor Raymond Hall, who coordinated the academic section of the discussion on bigotry.

Hall gave an overview of the problems of bigotry in the world and said that a college campus presents a microcosm of these issues.

"The world today is awash with ethnic conflict," Hall said. "The issue of ethnicity is virtually everywhere."

Hall's lecture will provide a basis for the conference's discussions, which will continue through Wednesday.

Following Hall's lecture, Art History Professor Robert McGrath spoke about the intolerance to alternatives to the accepted Western aesthetic ideal.

McGrath's lecture was followed by Spike Lee's film "Do the Right Thing."

"We showed 'Do the Right Thing' with the aim of inciting discussion, because we are of the view that this is one of the most powerful films of recent times dealing with race issues," Hall said.

During the discussion period after the film, delegates debated how to approach issues of intolerance on the college campus raised by Lee's film.

Conference organizers said they hope the students who participate in the conference will share their experiences with other students. "We're looking for a ripple effect," said George Demko, who directs the Rockefeller Center.

The early part of the conference will give delegates a theoretical background. Using that knowledge, they will develop practical action plans to combat bigotry, Demko said.

The conference is also sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith.