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Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Government Crises and the Public Trust

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)November 7, 2005

(Mahwah) – Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked a secret 7,000-page Pentagon study of U.S. government decision making in Vietnam to The New York Times and 18 other newspapers, will address students at Ramapo College of New Jersey Monday, November 14 at 2 p.m. in the H-Wing Auditorium.  Ellsberg’s presentation, The Role of a Free Press in a Time of War” discusses government crises and the public trust.  At 3:30 p.m., he will present From Vietnam to Iraq:  Lies, Truths, and Leaks in Times of War” in the Sharp Theater on the college campus.  A reception follows the presentation at 5 p.m.  The 3:30 presentation is free and open to the public.  For more information, contact Pat Keeton at pkeeton@ramapo.edu or Peggy Monges at pmonges@ramapo.edu.

Ellsberg’s actions contributed to the eventual conviction of White House aides and the impeachment of Richard Nixon for government misconduct.  In his address to a campus-wide audience at 3:30 p.m., Ellsberg will draw parallels between the historical impact of his own Pentagon Papers” case and current debates over contemporary government leaks, such as the outing” of CIA agent Valerie Plame and the leak last July of a pessimistic Pentagon Intelligence Estimate report on the progress of the Iraq war.

In his 2 p.m. meeting with students, Ellsberg will examine the responsibilities and challenges of the press in times of crises and war. Students in journalism, public policy, history, communications, sociology, and other classes will have a chance to hear Ellsberg and ask questions based on research some have been doing to prepare for his visit.

In conjunction with Ellsberg’s visit to Ramapo College, there will be five screenings of the AcademyAward-winning Hearts and Minds, a Vietnam-era documentary on November 9, 10, 11 and 14 in the H-Wing Auditorium.   The 1974 film features interviews with Ellsberg and a history of the Vietnam era.  In the film, Ellsberg describes decisions by five different presidents to keep the conduct of the war secret from the American people, as documented in the government study.   Screening times are Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 6:30 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 10, at 2 and 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 14 at noon in the H-Wing Auditorium. The documentary, the first on the war to achieve theatrical distribution, features footage of civilian life in Vietnam, archival footage, and interviews with prominent government leaders, both hawks and doves, as well as veterans for and against the war.  Generating controversy and lawsuits by former government officials at the time of its release, Hearts and Minds has since come to be considered by critics and cultural historians as an important record of the era.

Sponsors of the event include The American Democracy Project, the Student Affairs Platinum Series, the School of American and International Studies, the School of Contemporary Arts, the Communication Arts major, the Office of the Provost, the Cahill Center for Experiential Learning, the Educational Opportunity Fund Office, the Office of International Education and Ramapo Local 2274 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

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About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Niche.com.

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com. Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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