I am a prison journalist, and I have been incarcerated for almost sixteen years, walking down a twenty-eight-years-to-life sentence for possession of a firearm, drug distribution, and a murder I committed on a Brooklyn street in 2001. I’ve spent most of my time in Attica Correctional Facility and recently transferred to Sing Sing Correctional Facility, another maximum-security prison, but this one closer to New York City. The prison is bustling with civilians involved with several privately funded programs: music, theater, higher education. There is also a group called Voices From Within (VFW), sponsored by NBC Dateline producer Dan Slepian, that hosts events with the youth, hipping them to the warning signs of trouble and offering them better life choices.
Years ago, VFW raised $8,000 from the prison population for a gun buyback. The money was supposed to be matched by several community partners but that never happened. Enter Bianca Tylek. Formerly with the Brennan Center for Justice, she is now the director of a new initiative at the Urban Justice Center called the Corrections Accountability Project.
In December 2016, Bianca met with VFW and learned that the gun buyback money was sitting idle. She vowed to help match it and published an article about the project at Huff Post on May 21, 2017. She kept her word. In September, Bianca met with VFW and reported to them that she managed to raise $10,000. Having begun my prison journalism career with articles on gun control, I supported her efforts 100 percent. While the logistics of the project still need to be sorted out, I thought it was time to shine a light on what she was doing. An editor put me in touch with her and she was game to talk to me. Continue reading “A Prison Journalist’s Q&A with a Justice Advocate”
On July 1, Professor John Manning ‘85 was appointed the 13th Dean of Harvard Law School. The Record sat down with him for a conversation over the summer. Read on for his thoughts.
This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity.
The Record: I want to start out with the hard-hitting, big picture questions. What will be the effect on your teaching load this year?
Dean Manning: I plan on continuing teaching the Public Law Workshop with Professor Daphna Renan. We’ve got a great lineup of speakers. For my spring Legislation and Regulation class, Professor Jacob Gersen has kindly agreed to step in and teach that. In the first year on a new job, I want to focus on learning how to do the best job I can do. We’ll go from there and we’ll see what kind of teaching I can do in the years out.
Continue reading “An Interview with Dean Manning”
With 36.8% of the vote, 2Ls Adrian Perkins and Amanda Lee have been elected 2017-18 HLS Student Government President and Vice President, respectively. Downballot, 1L Paola Eisner was elected as the next Director of Student Organizations, and students overwhelmingly approved a referendum to create a new crest for HLS.
“We appreciate the support and confidence of the student body,” Perkins said.
“We look forward to working with everyone and bringing student voices to the table,” Lee said.
The two races for elected office were close, with Perkins and Lee winning by 2.5 percentage points over 2Ls Anika Khan and Tyra Walker. 2Ls Joe Sullivan and Jin Kim received 28.9% of the vote. In the Director of Student Organizations race, Eisner prevailed with a 1.2 percentage point margin over 2L Lane Kauder.
The races for 2L and 3L Representatives were uncontested. The 2017-18 2L Representatives will be Leilani Doktor, Kaitlyn Beck, and Sam Garcia. The 2017-18 3L Representatives will be Raj Salhotra and Cameron Pritchett.
Record: Why are you guys running?
Adrian Perkins: I’ve always felt like Student Government was in a unique position to change things for the better. Academic institutions come with stressors and this is an opportunity to for us relieve those stressors and to make the community better. Since joining Student Government, I’ve worked on everything from the [Student Government] constitutional working group, to changing the printing, to appointing the committee that decided to change the crest, to getting the MPRE administered at HLS. I’ve had the opportunity to see things through and make student life better here.
Amanda Lee: The HLS community matters. We spend 3 years of our lives here. I’ve seen intimately the needs of a thriving student organization that’s put so much work and care into making the school an amazing place. Adrian and I work really well together because we have a wide breadth of experience. We’ve spent the last two years building relationships, and so we’re really excited to bring others to the table and let students have that voice through student government.
Continue reading “Adrian Perkins and Amanda Lee, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President”
Record: In a few words, how would you sum up your platform?
Joe Sullivan: We are demanding that the administration release the budget data so we can take a hard look at that budget so we can see what we can cut back and where we can move funding into.
Record: It seems like you guys are running as a one-issue ticket. Would you say that’s accurate?
JS: I would say generally, yes, although that one issue encompasses a lot of the issues at Harvard Law School. When we think about a lot of the issues at Harvard Law School, it’s often about how much does that cost? I think if we don’t know that it’s hard to tackle those issues, so I think of this as a more encompassing platform.
Jin Kim: It is a single-issue platform in the way that we want to get access to the budget data, and look through it, identify unnecessary costs and reallocate that to benefits that students actually want. The word benefits encompasses a lot of things, such as financial aid or mental health services. I know the impediments that a lot of students and I faced when looking to get mental health services. Continue reading “Joe Sullivan & Jin Kim, Candidates for Student Government President and Vice President”
Record: Why are you guys running?
Anika Khan: Tyra and I are looking to redefine student government and give students the chance to redefine student government for themselves. Tyra and I know what it’s like to be a part of the existing government, and we know how to change it to help create real community here at HLS.
Tyra Walker: After thinking about how much impact we’d be able to make at this institution in the areas we care about, we really thought our experience and our skills would make us a great team for this role. Continue reading “Anika Khan & Tyra Walker, Candidates for Student Government President & Vice President”
Nino Monea is the outgoing Student Government President. The Record asked him what was on his mind.
Record: What are some of the things that student government has been able to do this year that you’re proud of?
Monea: As far as membership goes, a majority of the executive team and elected members are women, and a majority are people of color for the first time as far back as we have records on this point, and I think it’s great that we have a team that really reflects the school that we’re supposed to represent. On substantive accomplishments, we’ve been able to implement a new printing system, which historically was students’ number one complaint in polls.
We’ve been able to make progress on policies to help students be more politically engaged, such as recording classes on Election Day, and we’ve begun discussions about canceling courses on Election Day so students can more easily go out and vote or volunteer. And we’re for the first time trying to expand offerings for students trying to go into public [office], such as a reading group on how to run for office as a lawyer. And going forward we want to see if there’s resources this school can offer to help people who don’t come from politically connected families run for office.
And we can just go down the list of things we’ve gotten done such as online syllabi for classes, more wheelchair accessibility for printers, and peer housing for Admitted Students Weekend. So I’m really proud of all the stuff we’ve gotten done so far. Continue reading “Outgoing Student Government President Monea Looks Back”
The Record: Why are you running for Director of Student Organizations?
Paola Eisner: One of the most important roles of Student Government is to bring people together and talk about what’s important to the student body, and student orgs are a big part of that. I’m excited about the opportunity to promote communication between our student orgs.
Record: What distinguishes you as a candidate?
PE: I have experience working with Student Government as a 1L Representative for Section 4, and that’s given me an inside look on how Student Government runs, how it can improve, and different methods that work and don’t work with the administration. Continue reading “2017 Student Government Elections: Director of Student Organizations”
Interview with Leilani Doktor
The Record: Why are you running for 2L Rep?
Leilani Doktor: I believe that I give a diverse perspective to student government that is necessary just to be fully representative of our 2L class.
Record: What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
LD: I think that my unique background and public interest focus contribute to my ability to be a good representative. I was very active in student government throughout undergraduate and high school, so I’m very experienced in terms of governance regarding student bodies and creating policies that work for students. As a 1L rep, I’ve been able to make small changes, like getting refills on the free coffee downstairs in the morning and regularly meeting with the dining hall to get new dining options, including the poké bowls in the boxes that you’ve seen added to the Hark menu. Continue reading “2017 Student Government Elections: 2L Rep Candidates”
Record: Why are you running for 3L rep?
Raj Salhotra: I had a great year this year. I got to head up the academic affairs committee, and there I got to organize professor lunches, make some progress with registration, and start to do some work on advising. That’s what inspired me to run again, to see if we can keep moving the ball on that. Also, five of the students that I used to teach [as a high school teacher] came in to sit in on classes. They loved it, and it reminded me that we gotta do more for low-income and first-generation students on campus. Supero’s taken a great lead on that, and I want to be a part of that. Continue reading “2017 Student Government Elections: 3L Rep Candidates”
Norma McCorvey, known as the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, died of heart failure on February 18. She was 69 years old. As the centerpiece of one of America’s most controversial court cases, securing the right for women to have an abortion, she herself turned away from it, converting to Roman Catholicism and anti-abortion activist.
Continue reading ““Jane Roe” Passes at 69″
Starting with the Women’s March on January 21, scores of Harvard Law students joined hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marching in Boston and around the country for left-leaning causes in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
In the weeks following the Women’s March, HLS students joined several other demonstrations in the Boston area, including a demonstration for the release of detainees at Logan International Airport on January 28 and a protest against President Trump’s anti-immigration executive orders in Copley Square on January 29.
Continue reading “Students Take to Streets in Anti-Trump Protests”
On June 23, 1982, Vincent Chin was brutally beaten by Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz with a baseball bat. Four days later, his head cracked open from the assault, Chin died. For their crime, the state of Michigan sentenced Ebens and Nitz to three years’ probation and a $3000 file. The sentencing judge said that “these weren’t the kind of men you send to jail.” A federal prosecution had no more success against the two men.
This Saturday, February 4, students, faculty, and a federal judge will be reenacting the trials for an open audience.
The free reenactment starts at 4 p.m. in Milstein East in Wasserstein Hall. Professors Michael Klarman and Mark Wu, Judge Denny Chin of the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Dean of Students Marcia Sells, and over a dozen students will perform roles of the lawyers, judges, and other individuals in the trials.
Continue reading “Chin Murder Trials Reenactors Seek to Start Dialogue”
After eight years as the head of Harvard Law School, Dean Martha Minow is stepping down from her role to return to teaching and research at the Law School. Her resignation is effective as of this July. The Record talked to Dean Minow about her thoughts looking back and looking forward. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and organization.
The Record: What made you decide to step down as dean?
Dean Minow: I made the decision just before the holidays. I want to participate in the events of the day. And I’m late in a contract for a book. So I’m looking forward to working on all of that.
Continue reading “An Exit Interview with Dean Minow”
If you ask a Harvard Law Student who Charles Nesson is, they might say “one of the founders of the Berkman Center.” They are far more likely, however, to respond, “he’s that one professor who smokes a lot of weed, right?”
Charles Nesson is known for his eccentricities and eclectic tastes. Having the fortune of interviewing him this past week, I received confirmation of this perception. Dressed in an outfit that I would label “minimalist-urban-chill,” Professor Nesson entered his office accompanied by his tiny, eight-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Sweet Pea. His face exuded wisdom and calm. And while I wanted to ask him about everything from his favorite film to where he gets his marijuana from, I reminded myself that the purpose of the interview was to understand the context of Massachusetts’s ballot measure: Question 4. The measure, which was recently endorsed by The Boston Globe, would legalize commercial and recreational use of marijuana by adults over the age of 21 and would create a commission to regulate its use. Individuals would each be able to grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes. The measure is predicted to pass in tomorrow’s election, although insiders warn that it will be a tighter vote than expected.
Continue reading “Professor Nesson Urges Civic Engagement on Question 4”