PULLMAN, Wash. — To help the community make sense of the Sept. 11 tragedy, Washington State University is expanding the four-part program, “An American Tragedy – A Discussion Series,” into a bi-weekly open forum organizers hope will enhance students’ academic experience and improve campus climate.

“After the first forum it became clear that we needed to expand this series — not only to deal with the tragedy, but to deal with other issues that we face on this campus, such as climate, violence, diversity and ethnocentrism,” said Herb Delaney, assistant director for Community Relations at WSU.

Organizers also decided to expand the discussion series because of heightened interest by the WSU and local communities, Delaney said.

The third forum in the series, “The Middle East: The Complexity Behind the Crisis,” focuses on cultural and religious beliefs in the Middle East. It is 4-6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Compton Union Building Auditorium. Future forums are planned for Oct. 24, Nov. 5 and Nov. 29.

The forums will gather together experts from the university and the community and address varied topics such as the role of the United States in the Middle East since the 20th century.

The next forum’s experts include Robert Staab, a Middle East historian and instructor for the WSU history department; Marina Tolmacheva, an authority on pre-modern Islamic history and civilization and the director of WSU’s Asia program; Martha Cottam, professor of political science at WSU; Sayed Daoud, associate professor for the College of Pharmacy; and Ahmed Younes, a Muslim resident of Pullman.

An open forum for students to meet and discuss these issues is vital to the campus climate, said Jesse Keene, president of Associated Students of WSU.

“By better understanding the complex situation of Middle Eastern religion and culture, it allows us to alleviate the misdirected anger,” he said.

For more information, contact John Kicza, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, 509/335-4704.