FaCET Conference Introduces UMKC Law Inspired “Know Your Rights” Initiative

Prof. Dan Weddle at the FaCET Conference

Back in September 2017, UMKC School of Law and the Kansas City Youth Court hosted, “Know Your Rights and Learn the Law,” in honor of Constitution Day. Members of the police force and local attorneys taught youths (ages 12-19) and parents how to interact with police without unintentionally aggravating the situation at hand. The “Know Your Rights” event sparked a new initiative, led by Provost Barbara A. Bichelmeyer and a committee of faculty, staff and students, to ensure the UMKC community is aware of their rights, know what to do regarding possible right violations, and how manage various scenarios. The 2018 Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET) Conference served as a launching point for the new initiative.

The FaCET Conference, held on February 1, hosted faculty and shed light on opportunities, challenges, perspectives and issues of diversity in higher education. This year’s conference featured panels on serving underserved students and reflections on school desegregation and moving forward to create positive changes. The FaCET Conference is coordinated by the Provost and Candace Schlein, the Interim Program Director for Graduate Student Development and the Interim Program Director for the FaCET in the Office of the Provost.

The “Know Your Rights” panel introduced faculty to the new Initiative and highlighted upcoming sessions. UMKC School of Law faculty members, Daniel Weddle, Mikah Thompson, and Mary Kay O’Malley participated in the panel, and it was moderated by Dakota Paris, who helped organize the original “Know Your Rights” event. Over the next couple years, the committee will plan several sessions for students and faculty that will cover policy and community tensions, including their source and possible solutions; the rights and responsibilities of university community members; and the proper response when an individual’s rights are violated.

The Kansas City Youth Court intends to be part of the solution in keeping youth educated, but the Provost and Schlein understand it is also vital that faculty and staff are aware of their rights and the students’ rights well. Recent incidents have led many to focus on the relationship between law enforcement, racial discrimination or bias and escalating harm to the community members, and the “Know Your Rights” Initiative is a step in the right direction in providing education and discourse. This initiative will provide ideas for positive, proactive engagement within the law and UMKC School of Law is proud to be part of and help lead the conversation.

Published: Feb 23, 2018