Witches, Identity Theft to Be Topics of UB at Noon Distinguished Luncheon Series

By Barbara A. Byers

Release Date: September 22, 2004 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The public's fascination with evil witches and the issue of identity theft will be the topics of two lectures to be held this fall as part of the UB at Noon for Distinguished Alumni Luncheon Series.

Formerly known as the Senior Alumni Series, the programs will be held in the Center for Tomorrow on the UB North (Amherst) Campus, beginning with lunch at noon followed by the speaker's presentation, which will end at 1:30 p.m. and include a question-and-answer session. The series is geared toward alumni and friends who graduated before 1963 and for members of the UB Employee Alumni Chapter.

The series will begin on Oct. 13 with Phillips Stevens, Jr., associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Anthropology, UB College of Arts and Sciences, who will discuss "Our Fascination with the Evil Witch."

Stevens, who has conducted fieldwork in West Africa and the Caribbean, is the recipient of two awards for excellence in teaching and the author of many publications on cultural anthropology. Of all Halloween creatures, he says, the most enduring is the night-flying, child-stealing, murderous, cannibalistic witch. Fears of similar creatures have terrified people throughout history and in most of the world's cultures. In the 1980s, entire American communities were panicked by fears of Satanists who allegedly conducted similar, horrible deeds.

Stevens currently is working on a book on magic, sorcery and witchcraft.

Last year, as many as 10 million Americans -- at the cost of $53 billion to the U.S. economy -- were victims of identity theft. Paul Moskal, J.D.'79, B.A.'76, chief division counsel in the Buffalo office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will be the featured speaker on Nov. 17, when he will outline ways people can protect themselves against identity theft.

Identity theft occurs when an individual's credit card, social security number or other identifying information is obtained and items are either purchased with those credit card accounts, or new accounts are opened, and then used. Moskal will advise participants on how to better protect themselves when using credit and debit cards or ordering online via the Internet.

Cost of each presentation is $14 for UB Alumni Association members and $16 for non-members. Call the Office of Alumni Relations at 829-2608 or 1-800-284-5382 at least five days prior to each program for reservations.

For more information, call Michael Jankowski in the Office of Alumni Relations, at 829-2608 or 1-800-284-5382.