American University Student Reaction to 2001 Disclosure Project Press Conference Video
After I had seen online the Disclosure Project National Press Conference video in May 2001, I decided to show it to a class of graduate students I was teaching at American University, Washington DC., during the summer semester. At the time I was an Assistant Professor in the School of International Service and the course was titled: "Theory of Conflict, Violence and War." I included the video towards the end of the six week course after students had been introduced to a range of conventional theories on the sources of international conflict. I wanted to gauge student reaction to a press conference video which I had found very compelling. The class size was approximately 25 and it comprised graduate students who had backgrounds in humanitarian relief agencies, U.S. Peace Corps, human rights and peace activism. These were some of the brightest peace and conflict research students in the country. American University at the time had one of the few international Peace and Conflict Resolution programs which offered a Masters level degree, and its location in Washington DC made it very attractive to both U.S. and international students.
The students were largely liberal progressives and I expected that their reaction to the video would be similar to my own which was that it suggested a government cover up of UFO/extraterrestrial life that had enormous implications for understanding international conflict. I showed the first hour of the Disclosure Project Press Conference video with 20 witnesses who had handled, seen or witnessed evidence concerning UFOs and extraterrestrial life. The video suggested that the evidence was being systematically covered up by government authorities.
After watching the Press Conference video, I asked students to stand along a hypothetical line drawn across the room reflecting a spectrum of positions regarding whether they agreed or not with the statement that evidence concerning UFOs and extraterrestrial life was being covered up by government. I directed the students to stand towards the right hand side of the room (facing the front) if they agreed with the statement, and to move to the extreme right if they were strongly in favor. I directed those that were were unsure to go to the middle of the room, and those who disagreed with the statement to the left hand side and space themselves in terms of whether they strongly or moderately disagreed with the statement. In this way a spectrum of positions soon displayed itself. Two students reflected a belief that a cover up was occurring. One strongly believed while a second moderately believed in the cover up. Most students positioned themselves on the left hand side of the line reflecting either strong disbelief or mild disbelief. A handful were in the middle representing uncertainty.
We proceeded to have a discussion. Most were dismissive of the idea that government could withhold a secret of that enormity and believed that if it was true, it would have leaked out by now into the major media. Some commented on how successful investigative journalists have been in exposing government cover ups in the past, and deeply doubted that a UFO cover up was underway. Even those students reflecting uncertainty reflected the skeptical position that such a cover up could not have succeeded for so long if it was true. I found myself defending the merit of even showing the video given the vehement dismissal of most students of the cover up thesis.
After the class, I was very shocked at the result. It greatly surprised me that liberal progressive students could be so dismissive of the testimonies of so many witnesses who had impressive career credentials and were very sincere in what they were disclosing. I have subsequently found that the university environment is not very friendly to those proposing that an officially sanctioned cover up of extraterrestrial life is underway and that it should be studied at the university level. Such beliefs are dismissed as unsubstantiated conspiracy theory not deserving serious academic study. These dismissive beliefs are shared by students and faculty which is not that strange given that most students look up to faculty as intellectual leaders and authorities on new ideas. Unless some major events occur to shake the entrenched opinions of students and faculty at even the most progressive universities, it will be some time before the student body take up extraterrestrial issue and mobilize in ways earlier seen in the peace movement, civil rights movement and other progressive causes. In my view, the cover up might proceed for many more years despite the best efforts of researchers, whistleblowers and experiencers to disclose evidence of extraterrestrial life.
Michael E. Salla, Ph.D.
May 7, 2008
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