Around Campus

Downie cancels lecture

Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. canceled a lecture scheduled for Monday evening at GW, citing heightened national security, the University announced Friday.

“He canceled; we didn’t cancel him,” GW spokesman Eric Solomon said about the event, which was sponsored by the Elliott School of International Affairs and the L.E.A.D. Center.

Ruben Rodriguez, a Washington Post public relations representative, said Downie would most likely reschedule the lecture on “Managing a Newspaper in a Time of Crisis.”

Solomon said the Elliott School and L.E.A.D. Center will host Maria Livanos Cattaui, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, to speak Tuesday in the Marvin Center third-floor amphitheater.

-Kate Stepan

GW to host environmental conference

More than 2,000 environmentalists from across the country are anticipated to converge at GW Oct. 19-21 for the second-annual ECOnference, a weekend of speakers, panels and workshops geared toward student environmentalists.

The three-day conference will provide interested participants with workshops covering issues ranging from protecting America’s arctic north to nuclear power. The University of Pennsylvania hosted last year’s convention.

“I don’t think that there is one issue that will be the focus of the conference, but definitely issues such as the energy problem will be discussed,” said Micah Kagan, Free the Planet GW spokesman, the GW student group sponsoring the conference.

“Basically, any and all hot-button environmental issues will be brought up,” Kagan said.

Free the Planet is a nationwide network of student environmental organizations that promote environmental awareness. The group was founded as a result of several Congressional attempts in 1995 to alter the existing environmental legislation, including the Clean Air and Water Acts.

The conference is also designed to encourage students across the country to influence federal and state lawmakers.

A host of environmental experts and activists will speak, including Lois Gibbs, director for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, a group organized to help citizens keep their community environments clean. Consumer advocate Jim Hightower, a national radio commentator, will also attend along with John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA, Damu Smith, Toxics Program coordinator of Greenpeace, and Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club.

“Students will definitely notice a lot more energy around campus,” Kagan said, anticipating an informative and lively weekend.

Students interested in volunteering for the ECOnference can visit

-Patrick W. Higgins

Columbia professor discusses stem cells

Stem cell expert Robert Pollack advocated therapeutic cloning, a topic that dominated news coverage before to the Sept. 11 attacks, in a Thursday night lecture Thursday in Funger Hall.

The lecture, part of an Honors Program symposium, examined the moral implications of stem cell research.

Pollack, a professor of biological sciences at Columbia University in New York, addressed student questions about stem cells, which have the ability to divide for indefinite periods and give rise to specialized cells such as genes.

In an August speech, President George W. Bush announced that funding for stem cell research would remain in place for cell colonies already created from destroyed embryos but that he would veto any legislation that would further fund stem cell research.

Pollack said the president’s decision was made based upon the moral and religious belief that the human soul cannot be “reduced to DNA”.

Pollack advocated a different type of research: therapeutic cloning. Through therapeutic cloning, cytoplasm from a healthy egg cell is be injected into an unhealthy cell to correct it genetically.

Pollack said the issue touches on women’s civil rights because some believe it should be illegal for women to donate eggs for cloning research. Pollack said he is a strong advocate for the research, but said Bush may not allow federal funding for it.

Another reason Pollack advocates therapeutic cloning is because it
could possibly be used with AIDS patients, helping them live longer, healthier lives, he said.

-Sarah Feldman

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