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AASV to bring "Know Your Rights" presentation to campus

On November 18, Georgetown Law Advocates Against Sexual Violence (AASV) will bring a “Know Your Rights” presentation to the Law Center. The presentation will feature Network For Victim Recovery DC attorney Rachel Kohler, who will be discussing Title IX and its implications for victims.

“This is a great way to learn about attorneys representing not the state, but the victim,” said AASV co-president Beatrice Diehl.

In addition, Georgetown Law Sexual Assault & Relationship Violence Liaison Laura Cutway and Dean of Students Mitch Bailin will conduct a discussion on the Law Center’s sexual assault policy and application of Title IX. 

The event will take place in McDonough 203 on November 18 from 3:30 – 4:30pm. Pizza will be provided for all attendees. 


Announcement: Hoyas in Recovery

An update from the Center for Wellness Promotion: a new group, Hoya Saxa Anonymous, is now meeting on campus on Sunday nights from 8pm - 9pm in McDonough 220. The group is open to all members of the Law Center community. For more information, see the flyer below or contact


Ten things to know about the Ukrainian Holodomor

What’s going on with the construction at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, F Street, and North Capitol Street? Construction began recently on the D.C. Holodomor Memorial. For those unaware of the significance of the new memorial, located a short distance from campus, here are ten things to know about the tragedy.


1. According to the Connecticut Holodomor Committee, the literal translation of the Ukrainian word “holodomor” is “death by forced starvation.”

2. Specifically, the Ukrainian Holodomor occurred from 1932-33, when Joseph Stalin imposed a famine in Ukraine through confiscation of the nation’s food sources and restrictions on movement and foreign aid.

3. The Holodomor was a result of Stalin’s attempted agricultural collectivization, a regime under which farmers were forced to give up their farmland and resources in order to join state-owned collective farms. Those who resisted were targeted by the government, leading to a widespread food shortage.

4. By 1932, a decree was issued that any individual taking food from the collective farm would be arrested or executed, leading to mass starvation in the millions. Despite the loss of life, it is estimated that between September 1932 and March 1933, the government exported approximately 15,000 tons of grain to foreign nations.

5. While no exact information is known, it is estimated that anywhere between 4 million and ten million lives were lost during the Holodomor.

6. Stalin refused to acknowledge any evidence of famine in Ukraine, thereby preventing international aid. Little news of the Holodomor left the country, and New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize despite his failure to report on the tragedy. Duranty’s reports included claims such as “any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda.”

7. One of the leading scholarly works on the Holodomor is Robert Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow, which details the political landscape leading up to the Holodomor and covers its history in detail. Published in 1987, it was one of the first works to shed light on the tragedy.

8. In 2003, seventy years after the Holodomor, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a resolution finally acknowledging the tragedy. It stated “we believe that in an independent Ukraine the terrible truth about those years must be made public officially by the state, because the Holodomor of 1932-1933 was deliberately organized by the Stalinist regime and should be publicly condemned by Ukrainian society and the international community as one of the largest acts of genocide in world history.”

9. The world’s first memorial of the tragedy was erected in Edmonton, Canada in 1983 by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council.

10. Construction of the D.C. Holodomor memorial began with a groundbreaking ceremony on December 4, 2013. A congressional bill sponsored by Sander Levin (D-Mich.) was signed into law in 2006, authorizing the memorial’s construction.

For sources and more information, visit:


Admissions Office hosts inaugural Family Weekend

By Victoria Valencia

Photo courtesy Daniel Cima/Georgetown Law

On September 12-13, 2014, Georgetown University Law Center held its first-ever Family Weekend.

It all began last spring, when the Admissions Office realized that in all of their events, there had been nothing yet created specifically for families. “We knew families would be interested and proud of their kids, and we wanted to include them in the community … there’s no expiration date on being proud of your kids,” said Dean of Admissions Andy Cornblatt.

After successfully integrating families into their spring events, the Office decided to plan their first Family Weekend.

Over 500 people were in attendance at the inaugural event, with families representing states from Washington to Florida. Entire families came out in support of GULC student family members, and learned more about Georgetown and what law school is all about.

“We wanted parents [and families] to hear speakers and administrators, see a Supreme Court moot, but most importantly we wanted to make them feel a part of the community,” said Cornblatt.

Included in the Family Weekend experience was a current student perspective, aimed at revealing more about the law school experience. “This helped them to understand law school and relate to their kids’ lives right now. Parents learned about how to be supportive, and got to hear about what classes kids were taking. Parents got to connect to their kids in a way they maybe wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Sarah Rutherford, Special Assistant to the Dean of Admissions.

Current student Jenadee Nanini spoke of the opportunities that Georgetown Law offers students through generous financial aid. 

It is incredible how the action of donation, big or small, can make a dream come true and make law school a reality for students who normally would not be able to attend due to their circumstances,” Nanini stated at the event.

Nanini also spoke to the heart of what Family Weekend was all about: providing a welcome environment and saying thank you to the people who helped us reach our goals. “I firmly believe that regardless of what you have achieved or where you have been, you have not gotten there without the support of others,” she stated. “Expressing gratitude and thanking those around you for all they have done is extremely important to me.

“We wanted parents to feel the warmth of this place,” said Dean Cornblatt.

One highlight of the weekend was guest speaker Kenneth Feinberg, Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. 

“One thing that was [special] about this year was that Ken Feinberg spoke on the day after September 11th. He was able to talk from personal experience and it was so timely. And for a lot of parents that particular talk was one of the most memorable from Family Weekend,” said Rutherford.

Ultimately, the weekend was a success, and provided a welcoming environment for families of GULC students. 


Gilbert & Sullivan Society begins new season

 A new season began for the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society theatre group with a presentation of the organization’s fall showcase, “The Year of the Swords.” Held Sept. 11 on the 12th floor of the Gewirz Student Center, the event was aimed at recruiting new students and showcasing members’ many talents. 

“Honestly, I remember being at this event last year as a 1L, and looking around at everyone, and everyone was laughing and having a great time and knew each other,” said Anna Bodi, the group’s Membership Chair. “I just thought, ‘I want to be friends with all these people! I don’t know who they are, but I want to be friends.’ So for me it’s really exciting to be here a year later, kind of doing the same thing for the 1Ls now.”

According to president Jeff Asjes, the goal of the group is to entertain and have fun.

“We are a group that likes performing, but that’s not all we’re about. We’re one of, I think, the best outlets on campus to be involved with a student group that isn’t about more law,” he said. “It’s a wonderful way to just put that all aside for a minute and have fun. And you can have fun by wielding power tools that you’ve never used before. I’ve taught people to use a hammer drill or a saw. [Or] you can do it by deciding to operate a spotlight, which is something you may have never done before. If you play an instrument, it’s a great outlet to play the instrument in front of an audience. So even if you’ve never wanted to be on stage, it’s a great organization — and we have great parties every Friday!” 

Technical Director Xander Tapling said there are a large amount of positions open within the organization.

“We’re pressing very hard for 1Ls, 2Ls, transfer students, LLMs — people need to just come out and join our society,” he said. “So we wanted really tonight to be about connecting the alums who graduated with the new students who would be interested in coming out for Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and I’m actually really happy with how it turned out.”

The event contained a variety of skits, musical numbers and presentations from current members and alumni. Interested students were also given information on how to join the society, as well as how to audition for the group’s upcoming show, “Spamalot.”

Tapling stated all who are interested in participating will be given a position in the show.

“It doesn’t matter your skill level; it doesn’t matter anything other than your interest level. If you want to do it, come out and do it,” said Tapling.

Auditions will be held Monday and Tuesday on campus, and “Spamalot” will run from Nov. 6 to 8. Interested students should contact, or send an email through the Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s OrgSync page.

 “I encourage everyone to come,” stated Asjes. “You will see fish slapping, sword fights, people’s limbs getting chopped off, the whole bit! It’s going to be a lot of fun.”


International Women’s Day Symposium: Taking Global Action for Women’s Rights

Each year, Professor Jill Morrison selects a group of women and men to join the Georgetown Law community as Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa (LAWA) and Women’s Law and Public Policy (WLPPFP) Fellows. The LAWA program trains human rights lawyers, judges, and professors from Africa who are committed to advancing the rights of women and girls in their home countries. Each Fellow earns an LL.M. degree over the course of the Program. Similarly, the WLPPFP Program provides fellowships for public interest lawyers in the United States with the mission of advancing the rights of women and girls. Throughout their Fellowships, WLPPFP work with various public interest organizations in D.C. or Georgetown Law clinics to gain practical experience working on women’s issues.

On Friday, March 21, 2014, the Georgetown LAWA and WLPPFP Fellowship Programs joined with Human Rights Action-Amnesty International, the Human Rights Institute, and several student groups at the Law Center to present a day-long symposium centering on international women’s human rights. The day began with opening remarks by Professor Morrison, Executive Director of the Fellowship Programs, and ensued with a series of panels and speakers.

Moderated by the Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law, Professor Edith Brown Weiss, the first panel focused on the importance of women’s representation in government, gender-sensitive legislative decisions, and gender-based employment policies. LAWA Elsy Chemurgor Sainna, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and Senior Program Officer at the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists, began by discussing the need to reconceive the link between gender and fiscal policies and to enact affirmative action laws centered on representing the everyday “Joe the Plumber” (“Wanjiku”) in government. Next, LAWA and legal practitioner Fagbenle Oluwseun Oyindamola explained how “energy is something that is vital to every aspect of devel- opment,” stating that “Nigerian society is such that they do not see energy as a gendered issue.” Ms. Oyindamola called for a review of the Renewable Energy Master Plan, repositioning of the Nigerian Gas Sector, and the integration and imple- mentation of gender-based energy frameworks. WLPPFP Vasu Reddy, Fellow at the National Partnership for Women and Families, finished up the panel by discussing discriminatory workplace practices in the United States and the legislative efforts being taken to counter gender disparities, such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The second panel centered on the issue of gender-based violence against women in Kenya, Uganda, Kurdistan, and the United States. “The government has a responsibility to protect its victims,” stated LAWA Alice Kinyua, Legal Officer and Manager of the Mudzini Kwetu Center Advocate of the High Court in Kenya. Ms. Kinyua explored the significance and difficulty of collecting and preserving evidence in sexual violence cases. LAWA Maria Edith Jurua, Coordinator of Law and Advocacy for Women in Uganda, then gave a vivid depiction of the detrimental effects female genital mutilation (FGM) has on girls and communities, challenging the audience to answer, “Where is the justice for these young girls lying down on the floor?” WLPPFP Courtney Cross, Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Domestic Violence Clinic, provided an overview of domestic violence statistics and services in D.C., while student Cynthia Reed (J.D. ’16) discussed her research on FGM in Kurdistan. Moderator Jennifer Long, adjunct professor and Director of AEquitas, contributed to the discussion by using her prosecutorial experience to analyze the criminal justice response to domestic violence, highlighting the importance of thoughtful prosecution and a comprehensive civil response to domestic violence survivors. 

The final panel, moderated by the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic Director and Professor of Law Susan Deller Ross, explored the issue of gender-specific health services for women in Ethiopia, Cameroon, and the United States. To begin, LAWA Angelina Atabong, Judge and Investigating Magistrate in Cameroon, presented her research on improving awareness and access to emergency contraception, emphasizing the need for a reproductive health law, stronger human resources, and awareness on multiple levels, particularly in the media. LAWA Behailu Teklehaimanot Weldeyohannes, Law Professor and Vice-Director of the Legal Aid Center at Jimma University in Ethiopia, then spoke on the need for women-based health care in Ethiopian prisons, explaining how “the prison system is designed to fit men, not women.” To provide a United States perspective, WLPPFP Sara Kluberdanz discussed her work at the Women’s Collective, stating how the organization has found housing and homelessness to be the number one concern among women living with HIV and AIDS in D.C. Aram Schvey of the Center for Reproductive Rights concluded the panel with a presentation on the harms of unsafe abortion worldwide and the effects of U.S. foreign policy, taking the audience through an examination of the Helms Amendment and other U.S. laws.

Two featured speakers also participated in the Symposium. Sara Ibrahim, Advocacy Counsel for Refugee Protection at Human Rights First, served as the keynote speaker for the event and described the importance of protections for women through the lens of her experience with refugees. “The rights of all are bound to the rights of women,” Ms. Ibrahim told the audience in between stories of former clients, quotes by Hillary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt, and a poem by Ruth Forman. Director of the Human Rights Institute and the Center for Applied Legal Studies Clinic, Professor Andrew Schoenholtz, provided introductory remarks and led a discussion with Ms. Ibrahim following her speech.

Additionally, during the luncheon, Caroline Hubbard of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) provided an overview of NDI’s global democratic consulting efforts. Ms. Hubbard specified three conditions for women to meaningfully participate in public and political life, including a cultural environment in which women are perceived as equal to men, the confidence and capacity of individual women, and an eco-system with effective institutional and structural processes linked to the political participation of women.

HRA-AI member and Wrongful Convictions Committee Chair Madison Mélon directed the coordination of the Symposium and of a screening of the film Girl Rising leading up to the Symposium. Student group co-sponsors included Advocates Against Sexual Violence, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, American Constitution Society, GULC Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, American Civil Liberties Union-GULC, and the Women’s Legal Alliance.