A Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race RelationsThe topic of a major annual talk could not have been more opportunely selected to engage audiences and communities. Policing Black Males on U.S. Campuses” is part of the issue to be addressed by a UCLA professor when he delivers ASU’s A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations.

The 20th annual lecture named for Dr. Smith will be delivered by Dr. Walter R. Allen, the Allan Murray Cartter Chair in Higher Education and Distinguished Professor of Education and Sociology at UCLA.

His entire title is worth remembering: “Black Lives Matter: Hyper-Surveillance and Policing Black Males on U.S. Campuses.”

The free public presentation will be on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 7:00 pm, at the ASU Memorial Union, Memorial Ballroom.

Seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis, and doors will open at 6:30 pm.

Given the university’s own high-profile relationship with the intersection of Black lives and policing (and which has made news nationwide), I’m surprised the school has not touted this speech from the rooftops. There may be no local audience more primed to hear this dialogue than the one in Tempe, Arizona, right now.

Dr. Walter R. Allen, UCLA

Dr. Walter R. Allen, UCLA

On the other hand, the school probably wishes the whole topic would just go away. A high-profile talk by an esteemed scholar on this very issue may be a bit of salt in the recent wounds.

In any case, below I have included more background on the event. If you plan to attend and would like to provide some photos and perhaps a guest blog post, write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Background:

Dr. Walter R. Allen, distinguished professor of education and sociology at UCLA, will discuss the policing of African-American men on college campuses at the 20th annual A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations.

Allen’s lecture, “Black Lives Matter: Hyper-Surveillance and Policing Black Males on U.S. Campuses,” will touch on the social science of incidents involving police security and black men. Allen said he chose this topic because of national news like Ferguson, Mo., even if it didn’t happen on a college campus.

Allen earned his doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Chicago in sociology and his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Allen has done extensive research on higher education, race and ethnicity, family patterns, social inequality and the African diaspora.

Keep reading here.

Past A. Wade Smith keynotes have included Lani Guinier and Kimberlé Crenshaw, among many others.

David Taylor, Seismic Sensor, Texas, 2007. From the series “Working the Line,” 2007 – 2010. Pigment print on aluminum, 29 ½ x 36 ⅜ inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico. © David Taylor

David Taylor, Seismic Sensor, Texas, 2007. From the series “Working the Line,” 2007 – 2010. Pigment print on aluminum, 29 ½ x 36 ⅜ inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Kelly Contemporary, Santa Fe, New Mexico. © David Taylor

This Saturday, a symposium examines challenging and timely issues of privacy and security. Coupled with an art exhibition, the panel discussion will include Washington Post journalist Dana Priest, who will deliver the keynote address. Priest is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Organizers say Priest will offer “an incisive appraisal of national security, counter-terrorism and the U.S. intelligence industry since 9/11.” Also appearing will be artists Hasan Elahi, David Gurman and David Taylor; their work probes “electronic surveillance, terrorist profiling and classified government programs.” SMoCA Curator Claire C. Carter and Sandra S. Phillips, Curator of Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will also speak.

The symposium is titled “Stop Asking and Start Questioning: Information, Secrecy and Surveillance Since 9/11.” It is paired with the exhibition “Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns.” As organizers say, the show:

“considers a generation of artists working in the violent and uncertain decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to collect and reveal previously unreported information. Using traditional research methods—such as the Freedom of Information Act, government archives, field research and insider connections—these artists tackle subjects ranging from classi­fied surveillance to terrorist profiling, narcotics traffi­cking to ghost detainees and nuclear weapons to drone strikes. The thirty-seven artworks included in Covert Operations employ the tools of democracy to bear witness to attacks on liberty and to embrace democratic ideals, open government and civil rights.”

More detail on the symposium is here.

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.

Jenny Holzer, Ribs, 2010. Eleven LED signs with blue, red and white diodes, text: US government documents, 58 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 5 3/4 inches each. Courtesy of the artist and Cheim & Read, New York. © 2010 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.

For the very first time, AZ Attorney has a guest blogger. She is Fiona Causer, currently (as she describes herself) “a student pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies … [who] enjoys writing and seeks to use it as a vehicle to convey ideas and engage others in discussing relevant issues of our day.” She writes here about social media and privacy issues. The opinions in the post are solely those of Ms. Causer. You can reach her directly at fiona.causer1@gmail.com.

Are you interested in writing or collaborating on a guest post? Contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Thanks to Fiona for her thoughtful piece:

Photo from Wired.com, photographer name withheld; digital manipulation by Jesse Lenz

Paralegal Perspective: Is Social Media a Means of Voluntary Expression or Unwanted Exposure?

Guest Post by Fiona Causer

In an era where near-constant surveillance of American citizens is a possibility, do online social media outlets really allow for free speech? In other words, if you know that people are monitoring what you say, can your speech really be considered free? For example, we’ve all held our tongue on Twitter, since we know that all of our followers will hear what we have to say and we don’t want to offend anyone. For folks in the United States, despite having the freedoms of speech and personal privacy granted to us by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights (e.g., via 1st and 4th Amendments, respectively), interpretation and practice can at times be unclear.  This gives rise to many challenges for career legal professionals tasked with sifting through the ambiguity caused by an Internet-based world where personal information is not only widely accessible, but distributed quickly as well. While paralegal certification programs are growing in popularity with more people interested in entering the field of law, the issues created by online social networks will be sure to be a burden on the minds of future professionals in the field of law.

So while we do try to bite our tongue at times to not offend or simply be polite, what happens if we just feel that everyone is listening? Will self-censorship increase if you knew your boss was listening, or if a government operative were monitoring your private Facebook emails. How does this relate to social media and privacy? In two recent instances, there have been cases where people are “listening” to what you’re saying online in a way that can only be deemed invasive.

In the first instance, as reported by the Associated Press, employers are asking potential employees for their Facebook username and password, so they can have full access to the potential employee’s site – and should the job seeker refuse to provide his password, he may be denied employment. As this practice has become publicized, there have been some strong reactions. Facebook stated that under no circumstances should a user provide his password to another individual, since this practice violates Facebook’s user agreement. However, this does not directly address the First and Fourth Amendment issues of freedom of speech and freedom of privacy. The primary issue here is: Do employers have the right to monitor potential employees’ speech, and to investigate their privately-posted material? Senators Charles Schumer (NY) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) feel they may not and have requested that the Department of Justice investigate if the practice violates federal law. Additionally, some states are taking matters into their own hands. As reported by ABC News, Maryland has already passed legislation that makes it illegal for employers to demand social media passwords from potential employees.

An even more troubling instance of monitoring was reported in Wired magazine by journalist James Bamford. His article regarding the NSA reveals that the United States Government is in the business of surveillance. A $2 billion dollar facility is being built in Bluffdale, Utah, called the Utah Data Center. As Mr. Bamford reports, the purpose of the “listening center” is to monitor citizens’ (and foreigners’) emails, cellphone calls, Google searches and electronic purchases. The center will have enough data storage that, for example, all the phone calls and emails of a single person can be easily collected and stored. Meaning that anything you say has the potential to be monitored and later used against you. In such a situation, one justifiably wonders if soon one’s ideas and speech will be free at all.

Example of on-officer cameras

A few days ago, the Arizona Republic reported on a grant that aims to help policing. Recent news suggests that the steps being taken are good ones.

The $500,000 grant comes from the U.S. Department of Justice, and the money will be used to outfit 50 police officers with on-body video cameras.

For quite some time, we’ve been accustomed to dashboard cameras in police cars. Fixed in place, though, they reveal relatively little of the activities that make up an officer’s daily life.

The on-officer camera would capture far more, integrating a device worn over the ear, similar to a Bluetooth device.

The task force that recommended the use of cameras said they believed it would help ensure that officers, and the public with whom they interact, will behave in the best possible way.

Kelly Thomas, who died after a police encounter

A story out of Fullerton, Calif., this week gives credence to that position.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times (written by Joel Rubin and Richard Winton), two Fullerton officers have been charged, one with murder, in the death of a homeless man. The facts are pretty brutal. But what caught my eye was the fact that audio from an on-officer camera is playing a key role in the prosecution’s case.

Here is the story’s lede:

“Before reaching the decision this week to charge a Fullerton police officer with murder, Orange County prosecutors re-created his fatal encounter with a homeless man from dozens of witness statements, footage from security cameras and cellphone videos.

“The piece of evidence that sealed the decision, however, came from an unexpected source: the officer himself.

“An audio recorder carried by Officer Manuel Ramos captured a chilling exchange between him and Kelly Thomas, in which Ramos told the mentally ill man that he was going to beat him. Those irrefutable words, said Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, proved Ramos was intent on hurting the defenseless Thomas and led Rackauckas to file the second-degree murder charge.”

This is likely one of those technological developments we later will recognize as a normal and vital part of policing. I’ll have more on the story as it unfolds.