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COCC Discusses Role In Gaza Conversations

BEND, OR -- A panel of academics and community leaders discussed the role for educators and higher-learning institutions amid the current fighting in Gaza, at the COCC Bend campus Tuesday.

COCC President Laurie Chesley tells KBND News schools can play an important part, “I'd like us to do more on how we talk to one another and how we try to solve problems together, and I think we can see that through many kinds of lenses with many kinds of conflicts or situations.”

She believes this type of Question-and-Answer session is important, “I have not heard widespread discussion about the topic, but it certainly has impacted individuals, faculty and staff, and students. And they're still in grief and shock and kind of trying to figure it out.”

COCC History Professor, Dr. Jessica Hammerman was among the panel, speaking about new challenges in the classroom. “I think what's happening here is that the thing that we rely on with teaching is language, and it's falling apart”, she said it’s a chance for teachers to recognize they don’t have all the answers right now.

President Chesley says she would like hold more forums like this, “We want to be a force and be a partner in trying to solve problems, and in trying to help people have difficult conversations on the campus. …We've got such a wealth of expertise and experience and intelligence in Central Oregon.”

Chesley and Hammerman were joined by Karim Bouris, principal at Mixte Communications, Marcus LeGrand, Afrocentric program coordinator at COCC, and Oregon state representative Emerson Levy.

The panel spoke of the importance of presenting and researching facts, rather than opinions, and using critical thinking. They also discussed misinformation challenges with social media.

(Photo: L-R Morgan Schmidt - moderator, Karim Bouris,  Laurie Chesley, Jessica Hammerman, Emerson Levy, - Marcus Legrand not present when photo was taken)

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