Clinic Presents Human Rights Workshop to Thompson High School Senior Class

UND Law Clinic Presents Human Rights Workshop to Thompson High School Senior Class

A team of UND Law Clinic students (Rachel Ellingson, Carly Kahan, Grant Harrison, and Anne Smith) presented a human rights workshop to the senior social studies class at Thompson High School on April 8, 2009.  The Thompson workshop was one of eight presentations conducted by UND Law Clinic students during the academic year, in partnership with the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition (“NDHRC’) under a grant from the U.S. Human Rights Fund.  Under the grant, the UND Law Clinic and NDHRC, along with the Consensus Council, Inc., are taking steps to further educate communities in rural North Dakota about the nature and importance of human rights.

UND Clinical EducationAt Thompson High School, the Law Clinic team talked with the student audience about key international human rights concepts articulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Hoping to reinforce that human rights issues greatly affect the United States and are at play right here in North Dakota, the Law Clinic team focused much of its presentation on a review of the federal and North Dakota laws prohibiting discrimination in the housing and employment arenas.  The team placed particular emphasis on arming the students with remedies and resources available to help them prevent and combat these types of discrimination, both locally and across the country.

The Thompson High School students actively contributed to the workshop and thoughtfully received the information presented.  Said Rachel Ellingson, a third-year law student and member of the Law Clinic team, “We had great class participation from the students, all of whom seemed genuinely concerned about defending human rights and ensuring that unlawful discrimination is challenged right here in North Dakota. At the end of the presentation, several students posed examples of possible discriminatory conduct and analyzed whether or not that conduct would fall into the category of illegal because it was carried out against a member or members of a protected class. I think they definitely took a lot away from our workshop.”  Added Carly Kahan, a second year student who will be returning to the UND Law Clinic next year as a student director, “The students really seemed to grasp the concepts and were genuinely interested in the presentation.” 

UND Clinical EducationJason Schwabe, the Principal of Thompson High School, was complimentary of workshop conducted by the Law Clinic.  In a thank you e-mail to the team, he commended the Law Clinic students on their strong performance and noted how important and timely the issues addressed were.  He also mentioned that the Thompson High School students really enjoyed the presentation and could benefit from having the Law Clinic Team present again in the future.

This is the second consecutive year that the UND Law Clinic and the NDHRC have teamed up to conduct educational seminars in rural communities across North Dakota. The NDHRC is a non-profit organization dedicated to human rights education and awareness.  It also provides support for human rights violations in legal actions.

Said Kahan about the work of the Law Clinic with the NDHRC, “Along with the NDHRC, we feel that it is important to educate rural communities here in North Dakota about both civil and human rights. Although citizens of rural communities are deserving of the same rights and protections as individuals from larger cities and towns, they often have a lack of access to programs like these workshops, which aim to educate them about such rights and protections.  It is important for everyone to know how their rights can be unlawfully compromised and what remedies are available to them when that happens.  Where a significant number of civil and human rights violations go unreported and unaddressed due to a lack of knowledge, the UND Law Clinic and the NDHRC are working together to build up that knowledge base right here at home.”