USC Professor Challenges Students to Question Laws
- USC professor challenges students to question laws
Updated 12:00 PM ET August 30, 2000
By Rebecca Zak
U. Southern California
(U-WIRE) LOS ANGELES -- Students should question their
motivations for obeying the law and their fear of anarchy,
said University of Southern California philosophy professor
Sharon Lloyd during a lecture Tuesday in the VKC courtyard.
The intimate audience attended the event as part of the
Student Senate Academic Lecture Series, which is designed
to increase awareness throughout academic levels.
Lloyd challenged students to examine their reasons for
obeying arbitrary laws, asking questions such as, "Should
we fear anarchists? Should we become anarchists?"
In her lecture, entitled "Anarchists and Angels: Are We
Morally Obligated to Obey Our Government?" Lloyd encouraged
students to examine the practical implications of anarchist
ideology. She questioned a California law, which states that
a third felony is grounds for life imprisonment.
"If, after repaying public debts by serving time, a criminal
has exonerated himself, how can we justify the existence of
this law?" Lloyd asked.
She proposed that citizens might have a moral obligation to
act against the government when the laws enforce injustice.
For example, in the case of legalized segregation or slavery,
Lloyd argued that citizens were required by notions of greater
justice to either disobey the law or act within the law to
Lloyd's discourse was the first of six academic lectures
giving students the opportunity to view a diverse group of
university professors lecturing on their topics of choice.
Lloyd was surprised to learn that the lecture series is the
first of its kind at USC. She called it a "great idea," noting
that it is difficult for students to know what the departments
do. She said these short, informal lectures provide an excellent
sampling of compelling fields and different departments and
enable students to learn without the commitment of taking a
Matt Weir, assistant director of academic affairs for Student
Senate and an undeclared sophomore, lauded the event because it
promotes the "breadth and depth" ideal in education set forward
in the university's charter.
"Students are given the chance to preview a more multidisciplinary
approach to their studies through these lectures," Weir said. "It
promotes the exploration of different disciplines."
The Renaissance Scholarship committee, which promotes
interdisciplinary study by offering a generous scholarship to
seniors, helped support the series, Weir said.
Yishaun Chen, a psychobiology major, said that "the event focuses
mainly on undeclared students and gives them the opportunity to
listen to the best professors the university has to offer."
Cattleya Valencia, a freshman majoring in civil engineering, agreed.
"I'm here to get an idea about what's available," she said. "I'm
interested to see who the professors are."
Richard Fliegel, executive co-director of the General Education
department at the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, encouraged
students to "check it out."
"This is the perfect opportunity for students to get an idea of
what their professors really care about," he said.
The lecture series is co-sponsored by Senate, the Office of the
Provost and Program Board.
Some students already have recommendations on how to improve the
series for next year. Brandon Guerrero, a sophomore majoring in
philosophy, said he hopes the lectures will eventually draw a wider
"A lot of the people here are from the Thematic Options program
which advocates a multidisciplinary approach to an education,"
Guerrero said. "I hope that as these lectures evolve, they'll
become more like discussions and eventually include a more diverse
sample of the student population."
The Website of Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
The Dan Clore Necronomicon Page:
"Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas
zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam
not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not;
Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang
and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
-- The Book of Dzyan.