Webster University cuts ties with SOA/WHINSEC Print
Thursday, 04 January 2007 00:00

January 4, 2007

Webster University cuts ties with SOA/WHINSEC

In a historical and inspiring display of grassroots power at work, Webster University?s Office of Academic Affairs decided to end an agreement with the former School of the Americas - renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 (SOA/WHINSEC), after faculty, students and it?s founders protested the university?s association with the controversial U.S. Army run school that trains Latin American military and security personnel.

Webster University and the SOA/WHINSEC had signed an agreement in March 2005 allowing students at the U.S. Army school to transfer as many as fifteen credits to certain graduate programs at Webster.

Faculty and students were not aware of the association until it was disclosed by a student-run campus newspaper. Shortly after, 32 professors signed a petition demanding that the agreement be terminated and members of the Sisters of Loretto, the catholic organization that founded the university, protested Webster?s affiliation with the school. Graduates of the SOA/WHINSEC continue to be implicated in human rights abuses throughout Latin America.

In a letter to Sister Cabrini Bartolo of the Sisters of Loretto, Webster?s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs James Staley commented on the termination of the agreement and clarified the University?s position: ?We regret the perception that our fine institution has or had a collaboration with the SOA or WHINSEC. We regret the disappointment felt by alumni or by the Sisters of Loretto, or their supporters. We have taken every possible action to remove any offense.?

This is a major victory for the movement to close down the SOA/WHINSEC and we are grateful to our sisters and brothers at Webster University and the Sisters of Loretto for standing up for human rights and in solidarity with the people of Latin America.

Read more about Webster?s decision to cut ties with the SOA/WHINSEC.

Upcoming SOA Watch Events

January 28-30, 2007 ?Trial and Festival of Hope

On January 29, 2007 sixteen human rights activists will appear in federal court in Columbus, Georgia to put the SOA/WHINSEC on trial. The 16 were arrested on November 19, 2006, after carrying the protest to close the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) onto the Fort Benning Military Reservation, publicly defying the laws which prevent political speech on military bases and making a bold call for justice and accountability.

On Sunday, January 28th we will honor our prisoners of conscience and those who will testify against the SOA/WHINSEC with a Festival of Hope. The festival begins at 7pm and will take place at the Howard Johnson Presidential Ball Room (1011 Veterans Pkwy) in Columbus, Georgia .

Read more about the SOA 16

February 18-20, 2007 ? SOA Watch Strategy Meeting and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.

Join us in Washington, D.C. for our annual Strategy Meeting and Lobby Day! On Sunday February 18 we will come together for a day of reflection, discussion, and strategizing around the campaign to close the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) and building a more just world. On Monday February 19 we will hold grassroots lobby trainings to prepare activists from around the country to flood the halls of Congress on Tuesday, February 20, for the SOA Watch Lobby Day.

Read more about the Strategy Meeting and Lobby Day

April 25-27, 2007 ? SOA Watch Fast

As we prepare for another campaign in Congress, this April 25-27, 2007 will be a time of fasting for SOA Watch. This is a time to organize fasts in your community to bring attention to SOA/WHINSEC victims and an opportunity for each of us to commit ourselves to closing this place of injustice. As Congress prepares to vote on the SOA/WHINSEC, local fasts nationwide will educate new members and put pressure on members who have not worked with our movement to close this school of shame.

You can participate in this three day fast by organizing a place for you and friends to fast together, by joining one of the fasts that will be taking place nation wide, or by fasting individually.

If you are going to organize a public fast, e-mail Emily Nelson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Read more about the April Fast

Please support these events and the campaign to close down the SOA/WHINSEC by making a contribution to SOA Watch.