Seattle University Law Students Fight for Human Rights while Learning

Seattle University Law School is helping to shape the next generation of legal advocates through the school’s International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), directed by law professor Thomas Antkowiak. Antkowiak’s past work includes overseeing a “socket of IHRC cases involving torture, wrongful conviction, arbitrary detention and protection of industrial lands.” Most recently IHRC helped to free Nestora Salgado-Gracia in the highly publicized case. Salgado is a grandmother with ties to Renton, Washington “who had been arbitrarily imprisoned in Mexico for three years while being denied due process. Salgado was arrested in 2013 after leading a legally permitted indigenous police force to defend local residents against drug cartels in her hometown of Olinala, Mexico.” Salgado praised Antkowiak during her visit to thank IHRC for helping her to win her freedom, as well as being her support and back-up for her case.

Antkowiak’s students also expressed similar praise as expressed by Salgado. Law students reported that working and learning in IHRC allowed for a clinical experience that offered opportunities for critical work that has incredible social value. Antkowiak said that serving as IHRC director is “his dream job, one that combines three of his professional passions-working on cases he cares about, engaging with students and conducting research. Seattle U’s Jesuit Catholic mission offers fertile ground for each of these efforts.”

To read more about IHRC and Antkowiak, visit Seattle news.

Seattle University ‘Low Bono’ Program Makes Legal Assistance Affordable

Now in its fourth year, Seattle University‘s ‘Low Bono’ program provides assistance to people who do not qualify for a pro bono lawyer but cannot afford a full priced lawyer. Launched in 2013, the program prepares lawyers to fill this need for reduced priced legal assistance to low- and moderate-income clients.

The Low Bono Incubator offers financial assistance, continuing legal education, and mentorship to a group of graduates who commit to serving less affluent clients, assisting them with launching their own businesses. Fifteen alumni have completed the program and have begun small business handling cases in areas such as immigration or bankruptcy.

Seattle University is the only law school with a low bono program in Washington. Dean Annette Clark connects this work to their mission saying “As a Jesuit institution, we are committed to meeting the legal needs of under-served communities. As a Jesuit institution, we are committed to meeting the legal needs of under-served communities”.

To learn more, read the article on the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities website.

Seattle University Featured for Challenge Grant Program

Seattle University was recently featured in the Washington Post for their Challenge Grant Program.  Challenge Grants are financial aid awarded to students with a high financial need for strong academic performance. Students that earn at least a 3.0 GPA in the fall semester have $1,000 added to their aid package for the winter and spring semesters. If a student maintains a GPA above a 3.0 for the remainder of the year, they keep the grant as a permanent addition to their aid. In connection with this program, Seattle University provides students with resources to support academic success and to create plans to avoid the loss of aid.

Loss of financial aid, even a small amount, can be a reason for students to discontinue their education. Seattle University considers it a worthy endeavor to support students in finishing their education, stemming from a rich history of Catholic higher education caring for the needs of a diverse student population. Read more on the program here.

Seattle University Opens Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs

Seattle University has opened a new Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs, devoted to exploring the ways in which religious wisdom and the resources of faith communities can lend assistance in the analysis, diagnosis and community responses needed to address pressing social problems. The Center plans to accomplish this goal in three ways: a commitment to interfaith dialogue, linking scholarship and faith-based action, and re-imagining the role of religion in public life.

Every two years, the Center will focus on a specific social issue, such as, rising inequalities, gender-based violence, human trafficking and unsustainable use of environmental resources. The Center is focusing on homelessness.

In launching this project, Seattle University is issuing a call for scholars on inter-religious exploration of homelessness. Scholars will meet at Seattle University on April 25 and 26, 2017.  During the course of the two days, they will learn about the issue of homelessness from legal experts, policy analysts, and economists; participate in a discussion with local stakeholders, including religious leaders; and prepare paper proposal abstracts through a collaborative effort.  Scholars will return to Seattle University in April of 2018 to present their papers at a second symposium.  This scholarly initiative aims to produce an anthology that captures the best interfaith thinking about the religious, spiritual, and ethical dimensions of homelessness. Travel expenses, lodging, and meals will be covered by the Center.  Scholars will also receive an honorarium.

To be considered, please submit 1) a one-page letter of interest and 2) curriculum vitae to Manuel Mejido, Ph.D., Director, Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs, by email, care of:  The selection committee will meet in December of 2016.  Scholars will be notified in January of 2017. The deadline for submissions is December 12, 2016.

Catholic Colleges Featured on Sierra Club’s Cool School’s List

Ten Catholic colleges and universities were featured as 2016 Cool Schools in Sierra Magazine. This list measures colleges in their sustainability efforts in energy, investments, co-curricular, food, innovation, academics, planning, purchasing, transport, waste, and water. Colleges reported their programs and initiatives through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a program of The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Schools included are Loyola University of Chicago (featured in the Top 20 Cool Schools), Aquinas College, Creighton University, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, St. John’s University, and Villanova University.

Congratulations to the colleges on their sustainability initiatives!