Black studies and sociology alumna to present Constitution Day lecture, “The Constitution and Policing,” Sept. 20

Ayesha B. Hardaway ’97

The College of Wooster will welcome alumna Ayesha B. Hardaway ’97 to celebrate Constitution Day by giving a lecture titled “The Constitution and Policing” on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, hosted by the pre-law advising committee, is open to the public and will take place in the Lean Lecture Hall in Wishart Hall (303 E. University Street).

Celebrated nationwide on Sept. 17, Constitution Day commemorates the day the Constitution was signed in 1787 and the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens. Hardaway, whose work focuses on ensuring that these rights are accessible to all citizens, earned her bachelor’s degree at Wooster in sociology with a minor in Black studies. “Those who have always held onto power can’t imagine a more equitable or a more just society because for them it’s perfect the way that it is,” said Hardaway in a feature in the spring 2022 issue of Wooster Magazine. As a student at Wooster, “The Black studies minor was aligned with my own intellectual curiosity and desire to learn more about the experiences of my people in this country.” said Hardaway. Her Independent Study on professional women’s attitudes toward affirmative action gave her an initial look at the world from a legal perspective.

Her interest in law led her to complete her J.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She currently works as an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she also serves as co-director of the Social Justice Institute, director of the Criminal Defense Clinic, and director of the Social Justice Law Center. With her work in her Criminal Defense Clinic, she teaches third-year law students to handle their own criminal misdemeanor cases, but also what targeted policing and selective prosecution looks like, especially in communities of color. Teaching students to consider diverse perspectives in addition to the fundamentals of criminal representation acts as a way to advocate for antiracism at the same time. In the Social Justice Institute, Hardaway works to support faculty and graduate students who are devising solutions to remove oppression and support liberation, work that intensified after the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.

In addition to her academic work, Hardaway has taken on an active role in improving local policing. In 2015, she was invited to serve on the Independent Monitoring Team appointed to evaluate Cleveland police reforms, and in 2018, she was promoted to deputy monitor of the team. The team consists of many experts connected to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and specifically sought Hardaway’s Cleveland roots and legal expertise.

Additional information about this event is available by contacting the Pre-Law Advising program at 330-263-2380, or by emailing barmstrong@wooster.edu.

Posted in News on September 16, 2022.

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