In Class

November 19, 2019 at 10:50 am

A Community Fostered in the Center for Law, Justice & Culture

The Center for Law, Justice & Culture

On the bottom floor of Bentley Hall, in Room 001, sits the Center for Law, Justice & Culture.

It’s a reprieve from the bustling nature of Bentley Hall, the home of Economics, History, Political Science, and Sociology and Anthropology, where students are always in and out, maybe heading to a small class, or a large lecture.

Throughout the day, there are hundreds of different students from dozens of different departments throughout the university in Bentley Hall, but within Room 001, things are different.

It’s a little quieter, and you’ll see some familiar faces if you frequent it enough, and that’s because within the Center for Law, Justice & Culture, a community has formed.

The Center for Law, Justice & Culture is an interdisciplinary academic community dedicated to advancing scholarship and teaching by integrating programs and uniting faculty and students who share a common interest in law’s constitutive and formative role in cultural, political, and social life.

The Center also houses numerous different student organizations: ACLU-OU, Mock Trial, Phi Alpha Delta, OIP-u, and Students for Law, Justice & Culture. These different organizations say a lot about the Center’s outreach and presence on Ohio University’s campus. The organizations in total include about 200 students.

Students in the Center for Law, Justice & Culture.

A Community Found

And while the Center itself is an academic community that includes a Masters program, an undergraduate certificate program, and even a Summer Law & Trial Institute for high school students, it’s something even more intimate in its actual confines.

A normal day within the Center is anything but normal – you’ll always find a different set of about six or seven people at a time, helping each other with homework, deep in a conversation, or just getting to know each other better.

These students have found a home within the Center, something that hadn’t been possible for them to find elsewhere on campus.

They have become friends through their respective organizations and have utilized the space that the Center gives them in order to further foster their friendships and create meaningful and lasting relationships.

From freshmen to seniors, the community fostered by the Center is filled with students who have similar passions and interests.

“The CLJC was exactly the community I needed…”

Lincoln Schaaf, a freshman who found the Center through his enrollment in the Law, Justice & Culture Learning Community, and grew closer to the community through Mock Trial, found the community especially valuable.

“The CLJC was exactly the community I needed as a freshman trying to find my place on campus.

Finding students who share the same passion and ideas for social change as me, as well as the amazing faculty who faster these ideas and conversations has significantly shaped by experience at Ohio University and made my first semester here so great.”

“It’s a space that reminds students we’re not alone.”

Brea Muzykoski is a senior studying Political Science/Pre-Law, with a minor in African American Studies, and is a part of the Certificate for Law, Justice & Culture. Muzykoski began her time in the Center as a freshman enrolled in the Law, Justice & Culture learning community.

Muzykoski has found the Center for Law, Justice & Culture to be so valuable to her education that she plans on continuing her journey with the Center by applying for the Masters in Law, Justice and Culture for the upcoming year.

In Muzykoski’s own words, “The Center provides a sense of community by creating a space in which students from all walks of life and varying academic interests can come together and connect with one another around our passion for fostering equity and inclusion.

“It’s a space that reminds students we’re are not alone. The Center aides students on a personal level by strengthening our bonds while also fostering our independence.”

“The Center is somewhere that feels like a second home.”

Many students are grateful for the academic experience and support from faculty that the Center for Law, Justice & Culture has provided, while others describe it to be more as a second home.

Micaela Beatham-Garcia, a sophomore majoring in Political Science and Global Studies as well as a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture, finds both to be true.

Beatham-Garcia switched her major from Psychology to Political Science and Global Studies at the end of last year. Within the Center, she found a way to express her interests and get to know students in her new major.

Beatham-Garcia is a member of the ACLU-OU, as well as the Ohio University Mock Trial team.

“The center is somewhere that feels like a second home. Every day when you walk in, you’re always greeted by the same warm faces and typically a hug, or an “I missed you!” from one or two people.

It’s so nice to be around others who share the same interests and can give you advice on anything, from which classes to take, to which is the best place to grab lunch from uptown (or, inevitably, help you through a breakdown).

I am so lucky to have met people who have become some of my best friends through the center.”

“I found everything I needed in the Center.”

For me, the Center is what made my time at Ohio University truly something special.

Arriving on campus as a freshman, far from home, with no one from my area enrolled at Ohio University alongside me, I felt alone.

Through the Law, Justice & Culture Learning Community, I found my home on campus. I joined the Mock Trial team, Phi Alpha Delta, and the ACLU-OU. Those organizations were so formative to my time here at Ohio University, that I’m now the President of Mock Trial and ACLU-OU.

But it was more than the organizations that made me feel at home here at Ohio University. It was the community that I found in the Center.

Within the Center, I found opportunities that never would have presented themselves on another college campus. I found everything that I needed to better myself to attend law school this upcoming fall. I found lifelong friends.

But most importantly, within the Center, I found mentors in Dr. Haley Duschinski and Larry Hayman, Esq.

The Center for Law, Justice & Culture is something special. The Center is so unique, and wonderful, that it can’t be replicated anywhere else, which is what makes having to leave Ohio University in the spring so much harder.

But I know that the Center will always be home to a community.

It will always give students the space to express themselves, challenge themselves, and grow together as people, and that is due to Dr. Duschinski and Larry Hayman, Esq.

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