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November 6, 2000

Reconciliation Symposium

Faculty panel organizers will contribute a series of columns for Emory Report leading up
to the Reconciliation Symposium, Jan. 25–28, 2001.

—Ben Homola is a third-year master’s of divinity student

“University, Community, and Place: Environmental Reconciliation” Friday, Jan. 26, 3:15-5:15 p.m.; facilitated by Peggy Barlett, professor of anthropology.

How does the concept of “reconciliation” come into play in Emory’s environment?
In some ways, this campus is very familiar; yet in other ways, we know it very little. How does our waste stream enter and leave the campus? What is the effect of deforestation? Environmental reconciliation challenges us to develop an altered culture of place that fosters a harmonious relationship between our natural and social environments. It can take the practical form of biological regeneration on campus, but it can also build new connections among individuals, place and

Who will be addressing these issues concerning environmental reconciliation?
A broad range of speakers will contribute to this session. David Orr will give the main presentation; he is director of environmental studies at Oberlin College and author of Ecological Literacy and Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment and the Human Prospect. The respondents will be Eloise Carter, professor of biology at Oxford and director of the Oxford Institute for Environmental Education; Mary Elizabeth Moore, professor of religion and education and director of the Program for Women in Theology and Ministry at the School of Theology; John Fields, director of Project Management and Construction in Facilities Management; Howard Frumpkin, associate professor and chair of Environmental and Occupation Health in the School of Public Health; and Raney Branch, environmental studies major in the college and recent intern with Environmental Community Action.

Why is this an important issue for Emory?
As Atlanta’s rapid growth challenges social community, the viability of ecological systems and regional health, Emory provides a valuable laboratory in which to understand how the use of place reinforces ways of thinking about the environment. We are coming to recognizing that, while growth provides new resources and encourages academic excellence, that same growth has the potential to disrupt community, the environment and our sense of place.

“Restorative Justice Approaches to Violence” Friday, Jan. 26, 3:15-5:15 p.m.; facilitated by Robert Agnew, professor of sociology.

Why are the issues addressed in this session so significant?
The rate of imprisonment in the United States has increased nearly fivefold since 1970. There are approximately 2 million adults currently in our prison system and 4.2 million others on probation and parole. The rate of imprisonment in the United States is six to 10 times higher than any other industrialized nation—despite our crime rates being roughly the same.
Overall, about one out of every 32 adults in this country is under some sort of correctional supervision: prison, jail, probation or parole. The figure for young African American males is about one in three. We are at a critical point in our efforts to control crime and violence; we must decide whether we want to continue in the inefficiencies of our “get tough” approach or try an alternative strategy like restorative justice.

What exactly is restorative justice?
Restorative justice is an alternative to our current methods of punishment, which frequently reinforce violent tendencies and fail to prepare offenders to reenter and adjust to conventional society. Restorative justice seeks to hold offenders accountable for their behavior and to impose meaningful sanctions on them. These sanctions should allow offenders to repair the harm they have done, restore their ties to conventional others and address the causes of their crime. In essence, restorative justice seeks to reconcile offenders with their victims and the larger community.

Who will be participating in the conversation?
The symposium session involves three presenters. First, Arthur Kellermann, professor in the School of Public Health and chair of emergency medicine, will describe the extent of violence in America and our current approach to controlling violence. Second, Thee Smith, associate professor of religion, will describe the arguments for the restorative justice approach. Third, Lawrence Sherman, Greenfield Professor of Human Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, will describe his research on the effectiveness of restorative justice approaches to crime and violence.



Back to Emory Report Nov. 6, 2000