Violence Won't Stop South Plains Educator - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/7/08

Violence Won't Stop South Plains Educator

The dean of Wayland Baptist University's Kenya campus says violence won't keep him away.

Wayland Baptist's home base is in Plainview, but it has a satellite campus in Kenya, Africa.  Doctor Rick Shaw is scheduled to go back to the country on Friday.

Tribal attacks broke out last month, after a disputed presidential election. At least 500 are confirmed dead and the unrest continues. 

NewsChannel 11 sat down with Dr. Shaw Monday afternoon.  He says the school can set an example for the country. 

Classes have not been in session at the Kenya campus during the violence, but they're scheduled to start up a week from Monday.  Shaw says having students from so many tribes learning together can help spread a message of unity.

"They set an example by studying together, learning together, sitting in the same class rooms and the same dormitories and the same dining room, that is an example to people," Shaw said. 

That's why Shaw says it's important for classes to resume at Wayland Baptist's Kenya campus.

"I will be going Friday," Shaw said. 

Shaw says their students come from several different tribes, and many have experienced loss from the recent inter-tribal attacks.

"There are a number of our students whose family members have been killed in the violence," Shaw said. 

He tells NewsChannel 11 he's not concerned about his safety.

"It's not the foreigners, the expatiates that are the target of any of the violence at all," Shaw said. 

He is concerned about his students getting to school.

"The greatest problem they're facing right now is a fuel shortage throughout the country, and we're questioning whether our students can get to the campus or not," Shaw said. 

The campus is about 15-miles away from where a lot of the violence has occurred. School leaders have helped several refugees, putting a strain on supplies.

"We have a number of fields and gardens, and there have been quite a few refugees and other displaced people that have come to the campus seeking food and shelter, and I just heard today that they've harvested everything in the fields," Shaw said. 

Meaning the school may not have enough supplies to support their students.

"There may not be, there may not be," Shaw said. 

Still, he is not giving up hope and says class, and the inner-lying example of peace, will go on as long as conditions allow.

"Peace making can occur and reconciliation can occur between the different tribes regardless of their past," Shaw said. 

Wayland Baptist has had a program in Kenya for the past ten years. In July, they hope to graduate their first group of students with a four year degree that's equivalent to what they would receive here in the U.S.

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