Grant Funds Events in March with Focus on Social Justice

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A lecture and workshop series at Fairmont State University this spring will promote discussion about the social justice issues of civil liberties and universal human rights for prisoners during times of war. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission has awarded FSU a $5,700 grant to help fund the events, which are planned for March 2010.

"We're very pleased that the WVHEPC has awarded Fairmont State University this social justice grant," said Dr. Barbara Fallon, Interim Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence.

FSU's College of Liberal Arts and Center for Teaching Excellence will present the lecture and workshops with the theme "Social Justice Actions that Enhance Protection of Individual Civil Liberties and Universal Human Rights for Prisoners During Times of War."

"Social justice issues continue to be important matters for debate in higher education, especially as we become more globally conscious. This grant will help provide a tremendous opportunity for our faculty to share their knowledge with students, staff and community members and for students to conduct meaningful research on important social justice issues," said Dr. Deanna Shields, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

The lecture, which is planned for March 3, 2010, will be open to the public, as well as to FSU and Pierpont Community & Technical College students, faculty and staff. A social begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by a keynote address at 7 p.m. in Multi-media Room A of the Ruth Ann Musick Library. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Gregory Noone, Director of FSU's National Security and Intelligence program and Assistant Professor of Political Science and Law. Noone will discuss and detail the concepts of indefinite detention as it relates to U.S. practice, particularly as it is relevant to his current work at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A question and answer session will be held after Noone's comments until 9 p.m.

Noone is currently a Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve and is the Commanding Officer of the Navy JAG International and Operational Law reserve unit. He has been mobilized to become the Staff Judge Advocate for the Department of Defense's Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants (OARDEC) at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Noone is also a member of the Public International Law and Policy Group, which was nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, and worked for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent, nonpartisan federal institution created by the U.S. Congress to promote research, education and training on the prevention, management and peaceful resolution of international conflicts. While at USIP, Noone received a Special Act Award for his work in Afghanistan. 

Noone previously served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Navy. He held various positions in the Navy including the acting Head of the International Law Branch and the Foreign Military Rights Affairs Branch in the Navy Judge Advocate General's (JAG) International and Operational Law Division at the Pentagon.

He also served at the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS) where he trained senior military, governmental and non-governmental civilian personnel in over 35 countries (and has traveled to 73 countries total).  Most notably, he has trained members of the Iraqi National Congress, the post-genocide government in Rwanda, the post-Taliban government in Afghanistan, civil society in the Sudan and senior members of the Russian government. 

Noone was also an instructor at the Naval Justice School in Newport Rhode Island; an overseas Staff Judge Advocate in Souda Bay, Crete, Greece; and served at the Naval Legal Service Office in Norfolk, Va., as a government prosecutor and a criminal defense counsel where he was involved in over 200 court-martials.

He is a Brockton, Mass., native who received a B.A. in Political Science from Villanova University, an M.A. in International Affairs from The Catholic University of America, a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School and a Ph.D. in Political Science (International Relations) from West Virginia University.

Noone is a graduate of the Canadian Forces College's Joint Reserve Command and Staff Programme (JRCSP 12 / JPME 1). He has published and presented articles on the Rwandan Genocide, Transnational Corruption, the International Criminal Court and Military Tribunals at numerous forums. Noone appears regularly as a commentator on international and national TV and radio.

Two workshops for the campus community are being planned for March 4, 2010. The first workshop, conducted by Dr. Adam Podlaskowski, will be on the subject of "The Notion of Universal Human Rights." He will lead discussions with faculty, staff, and students about the importance of universal human rights in America and worldwide, and its implications for the campaign against terrorist organizations.

Podlaskowski is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at FSU. His research is focused on people's obligations to one another and to themselves, as they pertain to language, thought and ethical matters. Previously, Podlaskowski held a position in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut. While there, he served as a ConnPRIG Internship Faculty Sponsor.  In addition, he serves as the Secretary and Treasurer for the Alabama Philosophical Society and has acted as a reviewer for Pearson Prentice Hall. 

Podlaskowski earned a B.A. in Philosophy and History from the University of Michigan in 1999 and earned a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2006. Throughout his education, he has acquired many honors and awards, including the William H. Fink Award for the best philosophy graduate student paper. He has since prepared, published and presented several articles on the problems and prospects for constructing scientific theories of language and thought.

The second workshop, "The Treatment and Protection of Individual Civil Liberties and Universal Human Rights in Accordance with U.S. and International Laws," will be conducted by Dr. Gregory Noone. He will open a dialogue among students, faculty and staff regarding the treatment of individuals with respect to the protection of individual civil and human rights in accordance with U.S. law and international law. The Convention Against Torture and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) will be discussed as examples of clear precedent and relevance on these issues.

In addition to the public events, the project will also generate student research projects on the topic of social justice. At least five faculty members of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College will each mentor a student. The students' work will be submitted to the campus-wide Celebration of Student Scholarship in April 2010. From the collection of scholarly work, one student and his or her mentor will be selected to attend the Undergraduate Research National Conference.

 "As members of a democracy, it is our responsibility to be educated on these kinds of issues," said Robert Bolton, a junior Honors student pursuing a double major in political science and history. "This is a great opportunity to learn about and discuss the complexities of an important topic like social justice."