News

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 www.mtvU.com.

Megha Garg can be contacted at m.garg2@umiami.edu.

April 5, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Friday: ▪ UM coach Mark Richt hasn’t yet given any indication to the ...

There are few players across Florida whose recruitment has been harder to parse than Derick Hunter’s ...

While University of Miami fans are not exactly thrilled about their Hurricanes going against the Wis ...

There was a time John Dixon looked like he would have his choice of just about any college he wanted ...

Part 2 of a 3-part series Former Marlins president David Samson, now unshackled by any contractual r ...

Following national recognition for its French production of Cinderella, the Frost Opera Theater is d ...

Several UM art students are getting real-world exposure during a highly anticipated – and attended – ...

Over the past several years, more and more students are using UM Libraries as a study place, a meeti ...

A record number of gifts have been collected across UM campuses to benefit children and seniors in t ...

Former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Barak, who previously served as minister of the interior and mi ...

Following its longest break of the season thus far, the No. 25/23 Miami women's basketball team ...

After a six-day layoff, the No. 25/23 Miami women's basketball team will be back in action Sund ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Friday the signing of two players ...

University of Miami redshirt senior defensive tackle Gerald Willis III was recognized for his outsta ...

The University of Miami's redshirt senior setter Haley Templeton was named to the 2018 AVCA All ...

TMH Twitter
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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.