Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 23: Assimilating into Justice

Day 2 of Professor Kramnick's Freedom & Justice course, and I feel as though I belong. Today's itinerary consisted of a 9:00am lecture, 11:00am discussion meeting and 1:00pm guest speaker.

Similar to yesterday's schedule, Julia, Ramiah and I met in Mary Donlon Hall's lobby in order to catch breakfast at Appel Commons. With today being our first "substantative day of class," according to Professor Kramnick, we felt excited and prepared, due to the previous night's study session and months of preparation beforehand. While at breakfast, we couldn't help but ponder the possible discussions and activities we would be assigned for the day. The only way to figure this out was to make the walk to McGraw Hall for our morning lecture. By the way, I must share some beautiful images I have the privilege of encountering everyday on my walk to my morning lecture.The weather has undoubtedly cleared up, and the 10 minute walk makes waking up early in the morning more than worth it.

Today's lecture was on the topics of the Old and New Testaments. With the previous night's readings regarding the New Testament, it was more than interesting to recognize changes that occured between these two books, along with the several inconsistencies and contradictions that cause our class to question the sacred text's legitimacy. Professor Kramnick summed up today's lecture in one enlightening statement: The heart of Christianity's success is based on it's contradictions. We were left to ponder this thought as we made our way to our discussion sessions with our TA, Desmond Jagmohan in Godwin Smith Hall. In today's session, our class went over the relation between religion and politics, ethics, and morals. With our class consisting of a multitude of various races, religions, and morals, the discussion was thorough and well-commented on. After the discussion, we broke up into 4 person groups where we read a passage and answered 3 questions asking about the type of justice, political elements, assumptions, and central points within the passage. Right when our group finished, it was time to head to Trillium for lunch, where I am also blessed with a scenic walk.

After lunch, we made our way to McGraw Hall to listen to our guest speaker, Nelson Roth, a man who has served as the University's counselor, a Tompkin County District Attorney, and a New York State Prosecutor. He specifically discussed a variety of crimes that involved fabrication of police evidence by specific units in the New York State Police. During his presentation, he took fingerprints (unknowingly!) from Ramiah, and showed the class how the
fingerprinting process occus. He then led into his experiences with a detective who fabricated fingerprints to convict possibly innocent citizens of murderous and horrific crimes. The presentation was a great addition to the class because it let us all ponder the amount of injustice in an expected just system. Mr. Roth did an amazing presentation, and I cannot wait to meet even more guest speakers, for Professor Kramnick makes some great selections. Now I am off to read the writings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Because Julia, Ramiah and I spent a lot of time making sure we understood these philosophers prior to landing in Ithaca, I feel comfortable and confident with my upcoming discussion session. I cannot wait to apply my preparation to good use.

1 comment:

  1. Justine,

    Even though I never had to read a single word of the preparatory books Mr. Ramsey supplied you with, I could imagine the curses you all had for him as he would hound you with emails about your studies these past several months. And now you're walking into class 'comfortable and confident' about what you're discussing because he rode you all so hard. I suppose this is one of those times when we can curse him and praise him in the same breath.

    It truly sounds as though what's being discussed in your class can open your eyes so wide to allow you to see what you may never have thought possible.

    For instance, your mentions of Dr. Roth's cases where sworn officers of the law were fabricating evidence to send people to prison. It didn't matter whether the defendants were guilty or not, if the State cannot find the evidence necessary to convict them before a jury of their peers, at no time are they then allowed to fabricate their own evidence. This is what we might expect out of some third world dictatorship but here in the US we'd like to believe that our government and the people working for them are still the good guys.