Students, faculty and staff will be walking out of class today to protest a possible war against Iraq.

The Student Coalition for Peace has planned a walkout and various anti-war demonstrations for the UCSB community in a nationwide walkout protest of the possible war. Activities taking place today include a walkout beginning at the Arbor at 11:30 a.m. and marching to the Women’s Center lawn, a series of educational workshops at the MultiCultural Center and UCen, and a concert from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ansiq’ Oyo’ Park in Isla Vista.

“The activities for the protest are partially to bring together students who oppose war and show the numbers of people opposed, and also to educate and show students different aspects of the current circumstances more deeply,” fourth-year philosophy major Nicholas “Nico” Pitney said.

Kristen Ditlevsen, second-year sociology major and member of the Student Coalition for Peace, said the objective of these demonstrations is mainly to mobilize efforts and raise awareness.

“Our efforts stem from wanting to join the international movement,” Ditlevsen said. “We here at UCSB are thinking about what is going on, we want some open dialogue. We are featuring a workshop format to allow people to get alternative information. The people conducting the workshops are offering information that you can’t get in mainstream media.”

Ditlevsen said that the coalition is only a few weeks old, but due to the way developments in Washington have unfolded regarding possible U.S. military action in Iraq, they have had to move very quickly to organize.

“The organizers of the coalition have put in long hours for the past few weeks to make this happen,” Ditlevsen said. “They are really passionate about this cause and want all sides to be presented.”

The group was formed because there were many different campus groups that had different objectives, but were all opposed to war, said Pitney, who helped establish the Student Coalition for Peace.

Pitney said these groups decided to create a forum to bring people together to work on events such as today’s planned walkout.

Despite the difficulty in planning due to the short amount of time they had to organize, Pitney said the group feels it has gotten a lot of support from faculty, who recently adopted a position paper in their legislature denouncing a possible unilateral war with Iraq.

It is important for people to stand up for what they believe in, said Joe Palladino, academic adviser of the Film Studies Dept.

“I feel that you’ve got to express yourself,” Palladino said. “Otherwise we will be in a war that serves no purpose.”