Klau Center to focus attention on death penalty

Author: Kevin Fye

Death Penalty

The Klau Center has announced its thematic focus for the 2019-20 academic year, focusing on issues around the death penalty both domestically and internationally. Programming will explore a broad range of approaches to the subject, inviting the community to engage with questions around the morality, politics, social context, and legal status of the death penalty.

To kick off the initiative, Klau Center director, Jennifer Mason McAward, recently contributed an educational module on the death penalty to the Teaching Human Dignity series for Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life. The online series is meant to provide secondary schools with resources for teaching on a wide range of subjects related to human dignity. Christina Leblang, Associate Program Director at the Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity, explains that the series aims to broaden understanding of life issues. “Human dignity, understood in its fullest sense, demands a broad context,” says Leblang. “Rather than relegate the conversation solely to theology classes, our series will help teachers integrate these important issues into a range of subjects.”

Continuing this broad-based approach, Klau Center content currently planned for the upcoming year includes:

  • Faculty/student colloquium by Frank Baumgartner, author of Deadly Justice: A Statistical Portrait of the Death Penalty, in collaboration with the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy
  • Talk by Jason Ewart, lead defense attorney in the capital punishment case of Troy Davis, who in 1989 was accused of killing an off-duty police officer in Jackson, Georgia
  • Student roundtables on domestic and international death penalty issues
  • Book club built around Bryan Stevenson’s critically acclaimed Just Mercy, a memoir of the author’s work on behalf of death row inmates in Georgia and Alabama
  • Keynote lecture by Sr. Helen Prejean, leading advocate for the abolition of the death penalty and author of Dead Man Walking, in collaboration with the Department of Theology

Details for events can be found here as they are made available. Additional programming will be announced throughout the year.