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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Speaker returns after ill-fated lecture

    Mauricio Farah, an inspector for the Mexican Human Rights Commission, will be returning to the UA campus to speak today, a year after a verbal confrontation with audience members caused him to leave last year’s lecture.

    Farah will be speaking about immigration issues in a lecture titled “”Mexico-U.S. Migration: Let’s Talk About Solutions.””

    Farah was scheduled to deliver the speech last year, but the event was canceled because audience members demanded interpretation of his Spanish-only presentation.

    Although last year’s lecture was supposed to be delivered in Spanish, local media did not specify that interpretation would not be offered.

    Before Farah’s speech, the inspector was talking with others in Spanish. Members of the audience began to demand interpretation.

    Russ Dove, editor of Truth in Action News, was the audience member who first demanded interpretation at last year’s meeting.

    “”They invited the American public to this meeting with no intent to provide any kind of translation,”” Dove said. “”This wasn’t a private meeting.””

    Farah left the room as the controversy grew into a “”shouting match,”” Dove said.

    “”There are about 12 or 15 of us and 25 of what I would call ‘the other side’ and they proceeded to have this meeting in Spanish,”” Dove said. “”They do not feel obligated when they come into my country to speak to me in English, the language of my country, to furnish me with an interpreter.””

    Francisco J. Marmolejo, executive director of the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration, one of the sponsors of the lecture, said the university should be recognized as a place of dialog for issues, such as immigration and access.

    “”The topic is controversial, we understand that,”” Marmolejo said. “”But we also understand the university should be a place open for ideas and discussions.””

    Although he was not at last year’s event, Marmolejo said he hopes this year’s lecture will be a respectful discussion of ideas.

    Former President Peter Likins issued an apology to Farah on behalf of the UA last year and invited Farah to speak again on campus.

    “”I felt very badly about the way he was treated in our community,”” Likins said yesterday. “”It was just rudeness in the audience.””

    At today’s lecture, simultaneous interpretation will be provided. Also, there will be a question and answer time at the end of the lecture for those in the audience.

    The event is co-sponsored by 16 UA departments and will be held at 4 p.m. in Room 130 of the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center.

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