Aug 262008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

U.S. Department of State officials and CSU program leaders were asked to protect the safety of Iraqi students visiting the U.S. with the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. Plans to do so, however, were unclear, as no written mandate exists.

A U.S. Department of State official clarified that at each of the six universities participating, extra measures by media to protect the students were requested and pseudonyms were recommended. Should a visiting Iraqi student desire to speak to a major outside media news outlet, though, nothing would be done to stop the interview.

“We’re not going to go that specific,” a state official said. “We don’t, as a rule, try to suppress anything in terms of information.”

This, however, could mean that any person looking to cause harm to the students could discover the students’ involvement in IYLEP.

While identities of students are not released and photographs are not allowed, information about events that the students would be attending was readily available.

Colorado State Representative John Kefalas, who gave the keynote speech at IYLEP closing ceremonies this month, said he was never given instruction about what he could and could not release to the public in terms of event dates.

“It was clearly indicated to us that we shouldn’t be talking about names,” Kefalas said, “but there was no indication that I couldn’t put (event) information out there.”

Kefalas’ keynote address is noted in a press release that also gives date and time information.

And while the leaders of the program at CSU are careful to protect the students’ identities, they also encourage the students to spread their new thoughts in an effort to help defeat stereotypes regarding diversity at home.

Ross said he hopes the process of engaging other students happens “under the radar . at the grassroots level, not at the national level. The students simply can’t go back and (talk) overtly.”

News Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com

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