Alum Pens Oped On the Value of Inmate Education

Should people serving a life term in prison be provided state-sponsored educational opportunities?  Rania Elbasiony (Law & Policy 2019) argues yes in her recent opinion piece published by Tacoma’s News Tribune.

During Winter 2019, Elbasiony interned with the Washington State Legislative Internship Program.  One day she read a letter from a constituent asking Elbasiony’s boss, Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, to reconsider Washington law prohibiting him from a state-sponsored education while in prison because he was serving a life-without-parole sentence.  Interested in investigating this more, Elbasiony read research on the effect education had on prisoner outcomes, morale, and prisoner management, and concluded that she agreed with the letter writer.  This oped explains how and why she reached that conclusion.

PPE Major Teresa Dennerlein Wins Two Scholarships

Sophomore and PP&E Major Teresa Dennlein has gotten this academic year off to a great start, having been selected for two competitive scholarships!

Teresa is one of nine students selected in this year’s cohort of Dressel Scholars. The University of Washington Tacoma Dressel Scholars Program recognizes and rewards exceptional scholarly achievement, community engagement, and leadership potential for any student enrolled at UW Tacoma. The Dressel Scholars Program was created to honor the legacy of Melanie Jan LaPlant Dressel by creating a robust scholarship and mentorship program that affords our students the opportunities to develop their leadership skills and community connections while giving them the financial freedom to fully participate in their UW Tacoma experience.

Teresa was also awarded a Jennifer Dunn-Thompson Scholarship through the Washington Policy Center. The scholarship is for female students who are interested in policy-related fields, and named in honor of the late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn.

If you are interested in these or other scholarship award opportunities, be sure to visit the Office of Student Fellowships and Awards to find out more!

Intern for the State Legislature: Info Session October 1st

Interested in interning at the state Capitol next winter?  Attend an info session during the lunch hour (12:15-1:15) on Tuesday October 1st in WCG 110. 

The Washington State Legislative Intern Program offers a terrific opportunity for undergraduate juniors and seniors from all majors to learn the legislative process while gaining professional work experience. Interns are placed in the office of a state senator or state representative with similar interests.  Last winter session, 8 UWT students were selected to participate.

This is a paid internship, and you’ll receive 15 academic credits.  If your major is PP&E or Law and Policy, the internship satisfies your capstone requirement.

A program coordinator from the Legislature will be present at this info session.  More information on the program can be found on the program’s web page.  Applications will be due next October. Information on the application process is available on the program website.

WhLester-Burkesat:  Information Session about Washington State’s Legislative Internship Program

Where:  WCG 110

When:  12:15-1:15 Tuesday Oct 1st

internships-300x206Watch a 4 minute video on the program that features former UWT interns (go to link above and scroll down).

Lu-A Kikuo Wins Annual PPPA Paper Prize Award

Dilluchei (Lu-A) Kikuo (left) is a co-winner of the annual PPPA Best Paper for her essay “Republican Virtue and Klechibelau in the Face of Colonization: Machiavelli, Rousseau, the Belauan Civic Idea.” Lu-A wrote this paper as part of her work in Prof. Michael Forman (left) Senior Seminar course Winter Quarter, 2019.  Three faculty members (Elizabeth Bruch, Charles Williams, and Sarah Hampson) reviewed papers nominated this year, and selected Lu-A’s, as well as Lucas Waggoner’s, for this year’s award.

Lu-A hails from the island nation of Palau. Beginning in the 16th Century, Palau was the object of colonization by Spain, Germany, Japan, and the United States, all of which sought to obliterate its institutions, values, and culture. The Republic of Palau attained independence in 1981, though it maintains a close relationship with the United States.

Lu-A’s course of study at UWT was heavily influenced by political theory and ethnic and gender studies. Her award-winning paper reflects this trajectory. The notion of republican virtue has a long tradition in Mediterranean and European political theory.  In this tradition, liberty is understood in terms of laws oriented toward the common good and rooted in citizen action. But, the rule of law is a fragile thing and its main source of strength are public virtues such as the love of liberty and citizen engagement in the pursuit of the common good. Lu-A, however, saw something else in the idea of “civic virtue:” she saw the same core precepts found in Klechibelau, a very old idea in Palau.

Klechibelau literally translates into “the ways of Belauan life.” This “encompasses the mores, values, traditions, and customs of the Belauan culture and identity, all of which work together for the common good.” In her paper, Lu-A relies on canonical political theory sources (especially Machiavelli and Rousseau) to reconstruct the notion of republican virtue. She then argues that klechibelau, by offering similar resources, embodies Belauan notions of liberty and has played a role in preserving the Belauan way of life. While it has been much undermined by colonial practices, she argues for its renewal.  “Republicanism and Klechibelau in the Face of Colonization” brings together Lu-A’s course of study and extends it in a completely new direction not only for her, but for the field of political theory.

More importantly, “Republicanism and Klechibelau in the Face of Colonization” also offers something new to the people of the Republic of Palau: a way of rooting new institutions in traditional values.

PPPA’s Senior Seminar (TPOLS 480)  allows students to bring together with what they have learned in their course of study, and extend and deepen their knowledge into a new area. Lu-A’s paper is a superb example of this.

Senior Spotlight 2019: Rania Elbasiony

Meet Rania Elbasiony, one of UW Tacoma’s seniors and legislative intern extraordinaire in the Washington State House of Representatives.  We caught up with her and asked us to answer some Internship program as a “really great hands-on approach to learning about our state’s legislative process”.  A professor’s recommendation brought her to the internship program which is fitting as the draw of “small class sizes…and greater access to…build closer relationships with both my professors and fellow students” was what brought her to UW Tacoma.  Rania describes loving the close-to-home downtown campus here as well as the quality education that with a much more affordable tuition.

A Law & Policy major with a minor in Business Administration, Rania has taken advantage of the urban-serving campus and its many opportunities.  “I think that being a law and policy major has really helped me gain a basic understanding of how our legal system works, which will benefit me when I look for jobs in the legal field as well as when I attend law school in the future.” In addition to the interning at the State Legislature, Rania has interned with the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.  She has also worked directly with the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Neighborhood Councils in the Fieldwork in Law and Policy class taught by her favorite professor, Lucas McMillan.  When asked how she picked her favorite, Rania said, “I’ve had several great professors during my time here, but he manages to be my favorite because no professor of mine has been able to match his level of optimism. He comes into the classroom with a positive attitude and knows how to get his students engaged. Additionally, you can tell that he truly cares about his students learning and always goes above and beyond for his students when they need his help. Not to mention, he is very knowledgeable in his field.”

When asked about what classes she drew most on for success in her internships she credits the Intro to American Legal System and Intro to American Politics for helping her come “to the job with that foundational knowledge of how state government works, which helped ease my transition into a new environment. My field work class and internship at the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office also helped me because it allowed me to strengthen my interpersonal and networking skills.”

On that note, Rania’s suggestion for others who might want to follow a path similar to hers is “volunteering and getting involved with different student groups and organizations. It’s a great way to start networking and meeting people who could potentially lead you to future employment. Additionally, volunteering is a great way to see if the career you are currently interested in is a good fit for you. Also, if you have room to do so, take classes you are interested in even if it doesn’t relate to your major. Last but not least, in the midst of the chaos that school can be, don’t forget to take care of yourself because your mental and physical well-being is important.”

Pre-Law Society & Criminal Justice League Present Kids or Criminals?

In the second installment of an academic year-long series entitled “Kids or Criminals?”, in February, the Pre-Law Society & the Criminal Justice League brought two district judges and two defense attorneys together to discuss the current state of youth incarceration in our nation.  What came out of the event were heart-felt and touching stories grounded with the realism that can only come from working within the problem for decades.  Students and community members listened as the participants spoke of tragedy and systemic failings that continue to disenfranchise struggling youth to this day.  One of the key points that was hit upon was how the term “juvenile” is only used when referring to animals or youth in the criminal justice system.  In an effort to take action and shift the narrative, all of the participants moved away from that language for the remainder of the event.  The decision had a noticeable effect on the audience; there was an element of power in seeing people in positions of community power like judges be willing to be an immediate part of the change.

As a final thought, here are some of the words of power captured by audience members:

“We don’t recognize the cry for help.” -Karl Williams, District Court Judge

“There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. There is just ‘us’…” -Lizanne Padula, District Court Judge

“Internal healing and change, and systemic reform are not mutually exclusive. That’s where we can all come together.” -Christopher Poulos, Defense Attorney

“Everyone has something to offer” -James Curtis, Defense Attorney

Keep an eye out for the culminating “Kids or Criminals” event due to take this quarter. The final event seeks to draw together adults who were incarcerated as children and the lawmakers who continue to construct and continue the system.

UWT Hosts First Debate

Thursday evening, March 14th, students in Ben Meiches’s TPOLS 275 Urban Debate class hosted members of PLU’s debate club.  The result?  A rousing debate over a proposal to increase the salaries of public school teachers by 50 percent.

This event marked the first time UWT students have participated in intercollegiate debating.  But not the last!  This class, taught for the first time this winter, demonstrates students’ interest in learning to be better public speakers.  Prof. Meiches is now working on establishing a UWT Debate Team.  Next spring, interested students will be meeting during the Wednesday lunch hour to help launch further debating opportunities.  For more information, contact Ben Meiches at bmeiches@uw.edu.

 

Paid Summer Opportunity: Governor’s Leadership Academic

Please consider attending the following informational session tomorrow about a paid summer internship opportunity!!
 
What: Governor’s Leadership Academy Information Session
When: Tomorrow, Jan 16th at 3pm
Where: GWP 320
The attached flyer about the Governor’s Leadership Academy has information about the program.  To ask questions about the process and the internship, please consider attending the information session!

Consider an Internship this Winter!

If you are a senior looking to meet your PP&E or Law and Policy capstone requirement, consider an internship this Winter.  You can find out more by attending an info session next Thursday:

Info Session on Internships 

When:  Thursday Nov 8, 2018, 12:30 pm

Where:  WCG 322

We have a number of terrific internship opportunities available, from working for members of the US Congress, to interning with the Pierce County public defender’s office, the County Prosecutor, to working for the city of Tacoma. There are additional opportunities in Olympia, such as working with the Attorney General’s office, the Secretary of State, the State Auditor.or the State of Washington Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.  We also can offer internships in policy, such as with the Washington Policy Center in Seattle.  If interested in learning more, attend the session above.  If interested but not able to attend, contact Professor Katie Baird  (kebaird@uw.edu), as space in the internship is limited! 

Upcoming Debate on Ballot Initiatives at TCC

TCC Ballot Initiative Debate and Forum

What: Please join us at the Tacoma Community College campus for our second biennial WA Ballot Initiative Debate and Community Forum hosted by the TCC Student Government, the Department of Political Science and the Office of Student Engagement.  We will host a debate between representatives who are for and against the following two controversial ballot initiatives:

·         Washington Initiative 1631, the Carbon Emissions Fee Measure

·         Washington Initiative 1634, the Prohibit Local Taxes on Groceries Measure

At the end of each debate, community members will have an opportunity to ask questions of our debaters.

When: 6:30-8:30 PM, Monday, October 22, 2018

 Where: Student Center, Building 11, Tacoma Community College Main Campus, 6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, WA 98466

Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. No registration required.   Questions? Please contact Professor Katrina Taylor at ktaylor@tacomacc.edu or 253-566-5215