Posted by: University of Mississippi | May 3, 2009

Conflict Resolved!

No, not the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, I’m sorry to say.  But the conflict between representatives from each side of the debate has been resolved with a handshake, a few negotiations, and a genuine desire for resolution from both parties.  The debate got ugly on campus, to the point of formal harassment charges and a Facebook ad hominem attack-group.  But as of Friday, the ugliness has rescinded.  The Facebook group no longer exists, the formal charges have been dropped, and both parties have agreed to participate in a public debate during the Fall semester.  This act of peacemaking is a great example of how honest conversations between rivals can dissolve the hostility between them and reveal the common interests of both parties.  You can make your own conclusions based on the official statements from both parties.

Zubick wrote this personal statement after our conversation:

After having the opportunity to sit down and meet Mr. Blazo, I took responsibility for the mistake that was the Facebook group in question and apologized to him for the content as well as its effects on him personally regarding the potential repercussions the statements could have made on his reputation. I found Mr. Blazo to be a likable person and deeply regret our first meeting having been under these pretenses.  Furthermore, Dan and I have agreed to publicly debate the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at a date to be announced during September. I am glad that despite all of the hype, this situation was rather easily resolved between two gentlemen, with a handshake, and the help of the University Attorney’s Office. I look forward to being able to put this situation behind us and to be able to move forward with, in regards to the Israel-Palestine Crisis, respectful opposition and dissent.

-M. Zubick

and this Facebook note:

To all,

I am writing this after a constructive period of “intense negotiations” in the Lyceum with Dan Blazo. After apologizing for the remarks made in the group (and let’s face it, it’s hard to admit a mistake and apologize for it) and Mr. Blazo subsequently accepting the apology, several agreements were reached. First and foremost, if you were directly drawn into this because of your participation in the group, I am sorry. Mr. Blazo has denied involvement in those instances, you know who you are, and if you contact him will discuss what he can do to help and how as per the agreement made today.

Separate statements will be made on Dan’s blog either tonight or by the end of a few days time, Further details of the agreement made are not ready for public announcement simply because he and I have not discussed how to word it.

I will say, however, that I have agreed to debate Mr. Blazo in September in a neutral forum. I will also disclose that as a result of today’s meeting, the apology made by myself, that the Harassment Charges and No Contact order will be or have been rescinded.

I am sorry to everyone involved for dragging you into a personal mess that never should have gone public, and am publicly expressing my apology to Mr. Blazo for the severity of the statements made.

More tonight on Dan’s blog, and more in September.

Also, keep in mind that there is no longer any ill feeling between Dan or myself..therefore, nothing more need be done or said. I mean this with sincerity and not as a condition of the charges being dropped.

As part of our agreement, I wrote this letter to Michael:

Mr. Zubick,

After meeting with you this afternoon, I believe your apology to be sincere and am pleased to accept it.  I appreciate your willingness to repair the damage from this conflict by addressing the former members of the infamous Facebook group.  Today’s negotiations have led me to drop the charges filed against you.

I am looking forward to the debate we agreed to hold during the Fall semester of 2009.  I believe the civility we share today will maintain itself in the meantime.  Your public apology and written statement to the former group’s members are enough to relieve my personal concerns derived from this experience.  Your willingness to grant these requests, and the sincerity expressed in your apology, have really improved my perception of your character.  I hold no grudge.

Peaceful solutions will always require cooperative efforts across enemy lines.  Let this peaceful resolution of a bitter conflict serve as a source of hope for those entangled in bleak rivalries with one another.

-Dan Blazo

This will be the last post on this issue.  We are putting it behind us and moving forward.  It is my hope that the on-campus debate will vindicate the ugliness of this controversy.

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