MTV brings Nobel laureate to students

When students walked into the seminar room at the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic studies on Tuesday, they knew class was going to be a little different than usual. Professors Sherri Porcelain and Miriam Klein Kassenoff had combined their classes and moved them to a different location, and there were cameras all over the room when students took their seats.

But when 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel walked in, the collective “Oooh!” displayed the awe and shock of the students sitting in the room.

“The class before we were talking about his book Night [Wiesel’s autobiographical novel about his experiences during the Holocaust] and all of a sudden he just walks in there,” Rajiv Nijhawan, sophomore, said. “It was totally unexpected.”

Wiesel’s visit was arranged by and taped for the mtvU series Stand-in, in which celebrities make a surprise appearance and take the place of the professor for the class.

Wiesel focused on the worldwide indifference toward the mass genocides occurring in Sudan and Rwanda, relating them to his experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust.

“The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference,” Wiesel said. “An ethical person is one who is not indifferent.”

He talked about suffering through the Nazi regime and finding out that the world was aware of what was happening.

“When we learned that people knew, it was easy to give up on humanity,” Wiesel said.

Many are unaware of the crisis facing Sudan today. Darfur, in western Sudan, has been in conflict since February 2003, with civilians’ human rights being taken away by Janjaweed militias-Arab fighters backed by the Sudanese government. In this ethnic cleansing, more than 200,000 people have died and two million have been displaced.

Wiesel’s advice to college students was simple.

“When you read about an injustice, always take the side of the victims,” he said. “Your silence or indifference will never hurt the killer, only the victim.”

MtvU has called for students across the nation to raise awareness and make a difference in the Sudan crisis. During STANDfast on April 7, it is asking students to give up something like cigarettes or chocolate and donate the money they would have spent to a relief organization for Sudan. Approximately 150 universities around the nation, including UM, are registered to participate in STANDfast this Thursday.

Shawn Rosen-Holtzman, a student in Porcelain’s class, was inspired by Wiesel’s words and took immediate action to make a difference. She wrote a letter to the Miami Herald about the situation in Sudan and the experience with Wiesel, and it was published in its entirety that week.

Wiesel hopes that students can combat the indifference toward injustice, and believes that they can spark change through their actions.

“Remember one thing. The century is not mine. It’s yours,” Wiesel said.

The UM Stand-in episode airs April 7 on mtvU as part of STANDfast.

For more information visit

Megha Garg can be contacted at

April 5, 2005


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

Duke Johnson, the all-time leading rusher in Miami Hurricanes history, was one of a dozen members of ...

The Miami Hurricanes, still waiting for a starting quarterback to be named, are in the top 25 again. ...

Happy first day of school for everyone out there, including the University of Miami students. We jus ...

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.