Emory Report

May 18, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 31

New lawyer Welborn receives Brittain Award at graduation

Law graduate Cameron Welborn has been featured in People magazine and interviewed on radio and TV, but it's not her media savvy that earned her the University's highest student honor at commencement. Welborn was recognized with the Marion Luther Brittain Award for her tireless efforts to revise Georgia's rape statutes. The award recognizes student service performed without expectation of reward or recognition.

At a party Halloween night 1997, Welborn fell unconscious after someone slipped her a "date rape drug." The experience spurred her to organize a forum last year educating the campus and larger community on the dangers of such drugs. It was there that Welborn began to understand the difficulties of prosecuting sexual offenders under current Georgia law.

She and law school classmates Jill Uiberall and Rachel Brod began drafting legislation that elaborates on the definition of consent in ways the current law doesn't address. The outlook for passage of House Bill 1074 during the next Georgia legislative session is favorable, Welborn said. The bill has been named a top priority by the state's Prosecuting Attorneys Council and by women's groups.

"I've learned that you can effect positive political change without having money, prestige or power," Welborn said. But being an Emory student helped. "People saw me as being associated with a diverse community instead of a narrow organization or interest group," she noted.

As she leaves Emory for a job with the San Diego, Calif., district attorney's office, Welborn plans to continue working on public policy issues and improving laws that help women and children.

--Elaine Justice

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