Gore Begins Lecture Series

Tuesday, February 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Vice President Al Gore got mixed reactions as he began a lecture series on ``community building'' at two universities in the state.

At predominantly black Fisk University, the welcome Monday was warm, but 30 miles away in Murfreesboro at Middle Tennessee State University, Gore was met by about 20 student protesters, chanting ``Al Gore, corporate whore!''

Albert Smith, a Fisk junior from Fayette, Miss., said he felt awe for Gore after the two-hour class attended by 130 students.

``He gathered and respected our ideas on community and societal problems,'' said Smith.

Gore, who lost his home state to President Bush, and appeared unmoved by the protest at Middle Tennessee on his way to a lecture hall filled with 125 students.

Students at MTSU get two hours of credit for taking the course; faculty members at Fisk are still debating credit.

DeVonie Cunning, a Fisk junior from Little Rock, Ark., said Gore walked around the classroom with a microphone asking students what makes good families and good communities.

``He was very relaxed — very open, very entertaining and he was entertaining of our ideas,'' he said.

Gore or his invited guests will give 10 lectures through mid-April at the two universities as part of his ``community building'' curriculum.

The former vice president is collaborating with the University of California-Los Angeles in the lecture series. He will speak at UCLA this spring and also is teaching a course at Columbia University in New York.

Neither of the Tennessee schools is paying Gore, whose late father, a Tennessee senator, graduated from Middle Tennessee where his papers and memorabilia are housed.

Gore had told MTSU that if he was offered a payment, he would donate it back to the university, preferably to the center that honors his father, MTSU spokesman Doug Williams said.


On the Net:

Middle Tennessee State University news and public affairs site: www.mtsu.edu/(tilde)proffice/

Fisk University News: www.fisk.edu/news.htm