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Helena Silverstein, associate professor of government and law at Lafayette, will speak on “Civil Liberties in the Wake of 9/11” 12:15 p.m. Friday, March 15, in Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.

Free and open to the public, the talk is part of Lafayette’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

The lecture will outline some of the key civil rights and liberties that relate to government efforts to stop further terrorist attacks and bring those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks to justice. Topics will include the USA Patriot Act, anti-terrorism legislation signed into law at the end of October; the impact of Sept. 11 on the issue of racial profiling and free exercise of religion; and new Justice Department procedures to handle those suspected of committing terrorist acts, such as the monitoring of communications between terrorist suspects in federal custody and their lawyers, and the use of military tribunals.

“There is reason to be concerned about how our liberties have been implicated in efforts to fight terrorism,” says Silverstein. “The aftermath of September 11 reveals that the threat to our way of living comes not only from the direct effects of terrorism itself, but from the loss of our innocence, from our response to that loss of innocence, and from our fear, legitimate though it may be, of further acts of terrorism.”

Last year, Silverstein received the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Award, established in 1966 to recognize superior teaching and scholarship. A member of the Lafayette faculty since 1992, she is the author of Unleashing Rights: Law, Meaning, and the Animal Rights Movement, published in 1996 by University of Michigan Press. She also has contributed articles to Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Law and Social Inquiry, Focus on Law Studies, and Law and Inequality. Some of her recent research on abortion law is forthcoming in Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy.

Silverstein just completed a three-year term as review essays editor for Law & Society Review. She served as section chair for Judicial Politics and Public Law in the Western Political Science Association, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Law & Society Association. She also has served on the Nominations Committee, the Graduate Program Workshop Committee, the Ad-Hoc Committee on Governance, and the New Book Prize Committee for the Law & Society Association. Silverstein has been a grant proposal reviewer for the National Science Foundation and an article reviewer for Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, and Studies in Law, Politics and Society.

She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from the University of Washington and a bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Her awards include a Mellon Summer Research Fellowship, 2000; the Pi Sigma Alpha Award for Best Paper Presented at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association; the Betty Nesvold Award for Best Paper Presented on Women and Politics at the 1999 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association; and the Aaron O. Hoff People’s Choice Award for Outstanding Contribution to the College Community at Lafayette, 1998.

Silverstein is a past resident faculty advisor of Lafayette’s McKelvy House Scholars Program, in which about 20 students of high academic achievement and promise reside together in an historic off-campus house and participate in shared intellectual and social activities.

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