Scranton’s Education for Justice Programs Examine “Torture”

Sep 22, 2014

The University of Scranton’s 2014-15 Education for Justice theme of “Torture” will be explored through a series of lectures, discussions and multimedia events throughout the academic year.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2297) states ‘Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity,’” said Michael Allison, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Political Science Department and coordinator of Education for Justice.  

“Thirty years ago, the international community took a stand against torture when the Convention Against Torture was adopted by the United Nations. The U.S. became a party to the Convention in 1999. Unfortunately, many Catholics, Americans and countries that have signed on to the ban have continued to employ or support torture against their own people and against people of other nations,” said Dr. Allison.

The Education for Justice advisory board, a cross-disciplinary group of faculty, staff and students from the University, has put together the following lineup of programs to help us thoughtfully consider where we stand on torture. Additional programs will be added throughout the academic year.

Events planned include:

• On Sunday, Sept. 21, the Education for Justice Office and the Office of Sustainability Office are sponsoring a trip to the People's Climate March – NYC March.

• On Thursday, Sept. 25, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Education for Justice Office will co-host a lunchtime event on the “unaccompanied minors” crisis along the U.S. border in the DeNaples Center.

• From Friday, Oct. 3, through Wednesday, Nov. 26, the Scranton Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library will present “Through the Lens: A Compassionate Look Back at Our Future,” featuring the photography of Linda Panetta, founder of Optical Realities. The exhibit is free during library hours.

• On Monday, Oct. 6, Panetta will lecture on the exhibit at 7 p.m. in the PNC Auditorium of Loyola Science Center. The lecture is free of charge and open to the public.

• Monday, Oct. 27, a lecture will be presented by Denise Edwards, senior government affairs officer of the National Children’s Alliance at 7 p.m. in the PNC Auditorium of the Loyola Science Center. The lecture is free of charge and open to the public.

• From Friday through Sunday, Nov. 14-16 and 21-23, the University’s Theatre Program will present is several performances of “The Pillowman,” a play about torture in a totalitarian state. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Ticket prices vary.

In addition, a series of events will commemorate the El Salvador martyrs of November 16, 1989, when six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and her daughter were murdered on the grounds of the Jesuit University in El Salvador. A series of events will take place from Tuesday, Nov. 18, through Friday, Nov. 21, including a screening of Oscar Torres’ award-winning film “Innocent Voices,” which is planned Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall. “Innocent Voices” is a biographical film about coming of age during the Salvadoran civil war. A Q&A session with Torres, the film’s writer and co-producer, will follow the film. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

The Education for Justice Office will also co-sponsor a student trop to the Ignatian Family Teach-in in Washington, D.C. in November.

The Education for Justice Office promotes justice throughout The University of Scranton community through various programs, lectures and activities. The office wishes to educate students on the importance of justice, so they may act ethically when faced with justice themes in the future.

For more information, contact Dr. Allison at 941-4392 or


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