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Wednesday, September 15, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 17

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Lecture to focus on psychology of veterans

Everyone knows returning to civilian life can be difficult for members of the armed forces who have seen combat. But few may think of the psychological consequences of the transition and how they affect the soldiers in the long run.

That is the topic of "Combat and the Breakdown of Moral Character: Can We Protect Our Troops," an Honors College-sponsored lecture this evening.

The guest speaker will be Jonathan Shay of the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and the Tufts University Department of Psychiatry. Shay's work as a clinical psychiatrist dealing with veterans of the Vietnam War suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder led him to research the psychological and moral dimensions of combat warfare.

Shay has published a number of studies in journals dealing with American history, classical literature, military science and psychiatry. He is the author of 1994's Achilles in Vietnam and The Long Way Home: How Combat Soldiers Lose Their Homecoming.

Shay has also guest lectured at Harvard University and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his master's and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

The lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Room 150, Melcher Hall. Admission is free. For information, call (713) 743-9010.

-- Jim Parsons

Media fair allows students to learn, network

School of Communication students and organizations will officially kick off their Fall semester activities this evening with the second annual Media Interactive Expo.

"(The expo) will link up students with professionals in mentoring relationships," said communication Professor Fred Schiff.

In addition to giving communication students the chance to network with professionals, the expo will mark the beginning of membership drives for the student-professional organizations.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Room 201, Communication Building, with students being able to discuss and join various student-professional organizations in the journalism, advertising and public relations fields.

The next session, from 6 to 7:15 p.m. in Room 239, will feature a 10-minute video clip about newsrooms and a five-minute digital demonstration followed by a panel of professionals discussing their own experiences in switching to online media from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. in Room 239.

The evening will wrap up with a 30-minute break in Room 201 for pizza and soft drinks. Students will again be able to sign up with organizations and mentoring networks.

-- Michelle Norton

Weber kicks off Catholic Center discussion series

The UH Catholic Center on Monday held the first of a series of luncheon discussions about spirituality and academics.

Kathleen Weber, a professor at the University of St. Thomas, led the discussion, "The Moral Person, Immoral Society?"

In her lecture, Weber contrasted St. Paul's biblical idea of the body of Christ with the human body in order to identify the lack of feedback mechanisms that hinder society from working cohesively.

She said St. Paul's image of the body of Christ envisions the human race as one body in which all human beings are interdependent and interacting in a positive way. The reality of the metaphor is that each group within society believes it can function independently, she said.

"The question is not whether we are one body, but how well the components of the body can get along," Weber said.

The human body contains a wealth of feedback mechanisms that are primarily chemical and neural, she said. Though the communication in the human body is rigidly programmed, the level of harmonious communication remains extraordinary.

"The challenge is to make the communication (between human beings) better by developing the same successful feedback mechanisms for the body of Christ," Weber said. She used medicine as an example, where patients give direct feedback to their physicians, maintaining control throughout the healing process.

Weber cited Reinhold Neibuhr's seminal 1930 work Moral Man and Immoral Society, which discusses the overemphasis of previous Christian ethics on individuals. She said individuals would find it easier to orient their behavior toward a moral ideal than toward a society.

The discussion series, which promotes ideas of how a Christian academic can contribute to the world, was organized by Father Paul Gallagher and is open to faculty, staff and students of all faiths.

For more information, contact the Catholic Center at (713) 748-2529 or e-mail catholic@uh.edu.

-- Nancy Graham

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