Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph Wilson inaugurate "The Students' Forum" at Fairfield University November 27


Valerie Plame WilsonThe famously outed former CIA spy, Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson who challenged one of the chief claims underpinning the Bush administration's case for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in an op-ed piece in The New York Times - that Iraq had sought uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger - will initiate Fairfield University's newly established annual lecture, The Students' Forum on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.

This premiere event is presented by the Fairfield University First Year Experience Program in collaboration with Open VISIONS Forum (OVF) of University College and will be held at the Quick Center for the Arts. The dynamic evening is primarily for the benefit of Fairfield students, however, a limited number of tickets will be made available to the public through Open VISIONS Forum at $45 each after Nov. 19.

Each year, The Students' Forum will bring to the campus speakers who have had a major impact on some facet of American life.

Joseph WilsonThe appearance of Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph Wilson as the first guests, presents a significant and immediate opportunity for students to delve into the political, personal and judicial ramifications of a controversial and multi-layered case - currently on appeal - that touches the highest offices of power in the United States and by extension, represents an opportunity for the exploration of its consequences for society.

As if to underscore the continued manifest importance of the case, yesterday, a federal judge ordered the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails, "an issue that first surfaced during the leak probe of administration officials who disclosed Valerie Plame's CIA identity to reporters," according to ABC News.

And, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told CNN in an interview broadcast only last Sunday that he was "extraordinarily foolish" to leak Plame Wilson's name to the columnist Robert Novak who later cited Armitage and Karl Rove, then President Bush's top political adviser, as his sources. Rove denied the charges and neither he nor Armitage were charged with a crime in the leak.

The students will enjoy personal access to the Wilsons, making it possible to seize a rare moment for spontaneous interaction with two high-profile citizens whose lives and work have been at the center of a national debate on the war in Iraq.

Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA) president Hutchinson Williams '08 anticipates a large turnout for this premiere event, "We are very fortunate to have such topical headliners as Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph Wilson to inaugurate this annual event. With a kick-off this strong, this event will prove to be an academic and intellectual tradition for years to come."

The format for the evening is much the same as that of OVF, which features director Dr. Philip Eliasoph as moderator of a discussion following each speaker's remarks. Representatives of two political campus clubs, The College Democrats and The College Republicans will be onstage to participate in the discussion and finally, questions will be taken from a limited number of audience members.

In the Oct. 22nd New York Times review of Plame Wilson's bestselling book, "Fair Game," Janet Maslin wrote, "Once that career was destroyed, she wrote this account of her experiences as a means of both supporting herself and settling scores. She was contractually obligated to submit a draft of the book to the Central Intelligence Agency's Publications Review Board. That draft came back heavily expurgated." Her publisher Simon and Schuster inventively sought to turn that obstacle into an asset with the addition of an 80-page afterword by reporter Laura Rozen who uses matters of public record to fill in the gaps.

The Students' Forum has been added to the many choices of events offered to all undergraduate freshmen as part of the First Year Experience, a required non-credit program. Consisting of speakers, cultural events and participation in community service, the program is designed to ease the transition for freshmen to college life.

A limited number of tickets will be available after Nov. 19 on the Open VISIONS Forum website, www.fairfield.edu/openvisions or by calling the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010; toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 9, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 106