What, if anything, should Americans do about the ongoing genocide in Darfur?

Tomorrow at 12:15 PM in Room II of the University of Chicago Law School, three local law professors — Eric Posner of the U. of C., Jide Nzelibe of Northwestern, and Matthew Lippman of the University of Illinois at Chicago — will discuss the merits of U.S. involvement there. According to his online bio, Lippman is the “leading legal expert on the Nazi holocaust.” An organizer assures me the three have differing points of view — you can read Posner’s here — so the signal-to-noise ratio should be pretty high. Sponsor: University of Chicago Black Law Students Association.

At 7 PM, across the midway at the U. of C.’s Harper Memorial Library, members of the Chicago Debate Society will team-debate pro and con on “This House believes the University of Chicago ought to consider human rights when making investment policy.” Among those debating will be Stephanie Bell, considered the country’s best undergraduate debater by the American Parliamentary Debate Association, and once again both sides are pretty much guaranteed to be strongly represented.

University investment policy is a live local issue, as the U. of C. group STAND (Students Taking Action Now in Darfur) has been urging university officials to disinvest from companies associated with the Darfur genocide. In a letter to the Chicago Maroon published October 24, Michael Pareles (who’s doing publicity for the two Wednesday events) and Lauren Goldenberg wrote of the group’s meeting with university president Robert Zimmer and other administrators:

“We began the meeting expecting to have to convince the administration that divestment works. We anticipated having to prove that for the University, as an institution legally prohibited by its tax-exempt status from actively lobbying for politicians, divestment is the most, if not the only, effective method for stopping the genocide. We were surprised, however, to have to convince the administrators that the cause of genocide was worthy enough to be brought before the Board of Trustees, the final arbiters of this decision.”