1. K-State home
  2. »Dorothy Thompson Lecture Series
  3. »Previous Guest Lecturers

Dorothy L. Thompson Lecture Series

Previous Guest Lecturers

DVDs of some of the past lectures are available for checkout or viewing through the Office of Institutional Equity and through the K-State Libraries.


"Rights Gone Wrong" by Richard Thompson Ford, George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School

February 28, 2013 | Poster | News Release | An expert on civil rights and antidiscrimination law, Richard Thompson Ford (BA ’88) has distinguished himself as an insightful voice and compelling writer on questions of race and multiculturalism. His scholarship combines social criticism and legal analysis and he writes for both popular readers and for academic and legal specialists. His work has focused on the social and legal conflicts surrounding claims of discrimination, on the causes and effects of racial segregation, and on the use of territorial boundaries as instruments of social regulation. Methodologically, his work is at the intersection of critical theory and the law.

Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1994, Professor Ford was a Reginald F. Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School, a litigation associate with Morrison & Foerster, and a housing policy consultant for the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has also been a Commissioner of the San Francisco Housing Authority. He has written for the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor and for Slate, where he is a regular contributor. His latest books are Universal Rights Down to Earth and Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality.

A DVD of this lecture will soon be available through the Office of Academic Personnel and through the K-State Libraries.

"Forming the American Constitution: A Nation Building Game" by Jeff Jackson, Washburn University Professor of Law

September 4, 2013 | Poster

"Supreme Court Reconsiders Voting Rights Act: Broken Law or Broken Promise?" by Reggie Robinson, Washburn University Professor of Law

September 17, 2013 | Poster


Professor Steven Ramirez, Professor of Law, Director, Business and Corporate Governance Law Center at Loyola University Chicago
Affirmative Action at the Crossroads: The Uncertain Future of Race-Conscious College Admissions 

September 19, 2012 | Poster | This year, we continued to support exciting and engaging events that address pivotal civil rights concerns in our democracy. Each year we are pleased to be a part of the celebration of Constitution Day, and this year K-State again hosted the Kansas Court of Appeals on campus as it heard arguments in several interesting appellate cases. In conjunction with this unique opportunity to see the courts in action, we sponsored a free public lecture and discussion led by Steven A. Ramirez, Professor of Law at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. Professor Ramirez’s lecture was entitled: Affirmative Action at the Crossroads: the Uncertain Future of Race Conscious College Admissions. His lecture focused on an important case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging a university’s right to consider race and ethnicity in deciding whether to admit student applicants. Following the talk, the audience was invited to join in small groups to discuss whether race-based college admission should be allowed or whether this policy violates the civil rights of some applicants. This fall event offered a tremendous opportunity for our campus to continue to join in the national dialog on the state of civil rights in America.

Diversity Research Study
The Fire Next Term- NY Times
Color Blind Supreme Court Considers Fisher

Dr. Bob Zellner, Civil Rights Activist

March 6, 2012 | Poster | The Dorothy L. Thompson Civil Rights Lecture Series welcomed Dr. Bob Zellner to Kansas State University. Dr. Zellner spoke about his lifelong engagement in the Civil Rights movement. As a college student he was drawn to the struggle for desegregation in the South, and he has been a persistent voice for justice issues ever since. He has recently published an autobiography about his experiences called "The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement" (NewSouth Books, 2008).  There was a book signing after the lecture with books available to purchase for $15 each (regularly $27.99).

A DVD of this lecture is available through the Office of Academic Personnel and through the K-State Libraries.



American Muslims and the Right to Religious Freedom
Lecture by Dr. Ali Khan, Professor of Law at Washburn University School of Law and expert on Islamic Law

March 15, 2011 | Poster | The Dorothy Thompson Lecture Series hosted a timely and insightful lecture presented by Dr. Ali Khan, Professor of Law at Washburn University Law School in Topeka. Dr. Khan is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in Islamic Law and Islamic Shariya Law. He discussed the obstacles currently confronting American Muslims as they seek to freely practice their religion. Evidence of these obstacles includes law suits currently pending in federal court. For example, a recent class action lawsuit alleges that FBI agents are violating Muslims' freedom of religion by secretly infiltrating U.S. mosques and randomly targeting Muslim worshipers for clandestine surveillance. Moreover, a recent poll conducted by researchers at Cornell University concluded that nearly half of all Americans believe that the civil rights of Muslims living in the U.S., whether citizens or not, should be restricted. Professor Khan discussed the perception that Muslims threaten our national security and the threat that such perception poses to the religious freedom and cultural identity of American Muslims.

A DVD of this lecture is available through the Office of Academic Personnel and through the K-State Libraries.



Who Will Judge You? Advancing Judicial Diversity

September 15, 2010 | Poster | The Dorothy L. Thompson Civil Rights Lecture Series was an active co-sponsor of this Constitution Week event. The event's main sponsor and organizer was the League of Women Voters of Manhattan/Riley County. The evening included keynote speaker The Honorable Marla Luckert, Kansas Supreme Court, and a discussion with panelists from the Kansas Court of Appeals-The Honorable Henry Green, The Honorable Richard Greene, The Honorable Melissa Standridge; and Suzanne Valdez, Director of Criminal Prosecution Clinic, University of Kansas. The panel discussion was moderated by David Procter, Director of K-State's Center for Engagement and Community Development.

A DVD of this lecture is available through the Office of Academic Personnel and through the K-State Libraries.

"Papers" Documentary on Undocumented Youth and Panel Discussion

September 19, 2010 | Movies on the Grass event | The film is not available to be shown on this website. The film explores the challenges that face undocumented youth and the gridlock around immigration reform in the United States.

Approximately 2 million undocumented children are educated in American schools, hold American values, know only the U.S. as home and who, upon high school graduation, find the door to their future slammed shut. As a follow up to the screening of the film Papers: Stories of Undocumented Youth on K-State on September 19, 2010, a panel discussion on the movie "Papers," undocumented youth, and immigration reform was held Monday, September 20, 2010.

The panel was moderated by Michael Kaye, law professor at Washburn University, and included: Roberta Farrell, Immigration Attorney; Amanda Morales, Ph.D., Graduate Student Adviser K-State College of Education; Jonathan Willmouth, Immigration Attorney; Rep. Sydney Carlin, state legislator; and Erin Fleming who works extensively with undocumented youth-many of whom are actually pictured in the film. Fleming is part of the KS/MO DREAM Alliance-a local Kansas City group made up of mostly undocumented youth, as well as national projects such as The DREAM Is Coming and United We DREAM. The panel walks through the life of an undocumented youth trying to go to college and explore the roadblocks she encounters.

The panel was sponsored by Alianza, Community Cultural Harmony Week, Dorothy L. Thompson Civil Rights Lecture Series, and Multicultural Business Student Association.

 MP3 File

Cars, Cops, and Traffic Stops: Who's Right?

October 12, 2010, at 7:00 pm | Discussion with Panelists | Poster | Media Release

This panel discussion provided a thought provoking look at constitutional rights against unlawful search and seizure. The discussion addressed conflicts between the government's right to investigate crime and the people's rights to be left alone: At home or on the highway; in the bedroom or in the pick-up truck. Panelists included: Lt. Allan Lytton, Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy, Troop J; Larry McRell, Chief Public Defender, Junction City, Kansas; the Honorable David L. Stutzman, Riley County District Court; Barry Wilkerson, Riley County Attorney; Professor Michael Kaye, Washburn University School of Law; and Moderator Art Thompson, Office of the Kansas Judicial Administrator.



Fall 2009 - The lecture series co-sponsored with the KSSU UPC the presentation of this year's Fall lecture, a part of the Celebration of Constitution Day, "Guns on Campus? The New Understanding of the Right to Bear Arms" on Wednesday, September 16, 2009.

Following the 2008 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller, many critical questions remain to be decided. These questions include whether or not this newly recognized personal constitutional right even applies to the States under the 14th Amendment. Two legal experts on Second Amendment law, Professor William Merkel of Washburn Law School and Professor Raymond Diamond of Louisiana State University held a dialogue, led a discussion, and debated these unanswered questions about your constitutional right to possess weapons in your personal lives and for purposes unrelated to military service. The debate was moderated by lecture series committee member and Washburn Law School Professor, Professor Michael Kaye.


Spring 2009 - We were delighted to present this year's Spring lecture, "Arthur Fletcher: What Would the 'Father of Affirmative Action' Think of His Child Today?" on Thursday, April 2, 2009.

Professor Mark Peterson, Chair of the Washburn University Department of Political Science, was our speaker. He chronicled the life and times of the late Arthur Fletcher: a federal public official and notable Kansan often called the "Father of Affirmative Action". Fletcher was an energetic and forceful champion of affirmative action for most of his long life. Today, affirmative action remains contentious and provocative, and people frequently wrangle and quarrel over its meaning and justification. Dr. Peterson updated us on the current status of the affirmative action debate and also described Arthur Fletcher's efforts, after the landmark decision Brown v Board of Education, to bring about the goals and benefits of affirmative action.



During the 2007-2008 academic year generous support allowed us to bring Dr. Mary Frances Berry, former Chairperson of the Civil Rights Commission, to our campus as part of the Diversity Summit.

During September 2008 the lecture series sponsored the showing of the film, "Crash." "Crash" is a three-time Academy Award winner for best picture that examines the complexity of racial intolerance in contemporary America. The screen play for "Crash" was co-written by Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco. To learn more about the movie "Crash", you may want to visit the following website: http://www.crashfilm.com/. Then click on "Experience the Film."

"Crash" Poster (PDF)

"Crash" Program (PDF)

In addition the lecture series also hosted a panel discussion on racial profiling as part of the events associated with Constitution Week. Presented were the views from two members of the Governor's Taskforce on Racial Profiling, Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, the Executive Director of the Kansas African American Affairs Commission, and Steve Cisneros, the Executive Director of the Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission. Kansas Court of Appeals Judges Nancy Caplinger, Henry Green and Richard Greene, talked about the operative laws in Kansas and federal cases that have addressed the issue of racial profiling. Kyle Smith, current legal adviser of the Topeka Police Department and former Deputy Director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation moderated the panel.



Mira Mdivani, Immigration Attorney, presented "Brown is the New Black and Green Cards are Pink: Immigration Law for Normal People."

Ambassador Edward Perkins, former Ambassador to the U.N., Liberia, South Africa, and Australia, presented "Civil Rights and Citizens' Rights: Our Constitution."



"Civil Rights and Same Sex Couples" debate presented by Pedro Irigonegaray and Joel Oster, and moderated by Professor Bill Rich.



Judge Paul Brady, Federal Administrative Law Judge, "The Twoness in America: Black and American"

Professor Patricia Williams (PDF), Professor at Columbia University Law School, "Civil Rights in an Era of Social Wrongs," Co-sponsored by the Lou Douglas Lecture Series and the University Distinguished Lecture Series.



Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU

Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, "Guantánamo, Enemy Combatants, and Torture: The End of the Rule of Law in America"

Arthur A. Benson II, Civil Rights Attorney, "Brown v. Topeka Board of Education: 50 Years of Doing Right for the Wrong Reason?"

Jeannine Bell, Associate Professor of Law, "On the Frontlines of the Battle Against Hate Crimes"



Stephen Jones, Attorney-at-Law, "Representing a Terrorist in Court"

Marianne (Mimi) Wesson, "Chilling Effects: Cross-burning, Pornography and Censorship"

Anthony Romero, Executive Director, ACLU, "The State of Our Civil Liberties"



Susan Okin, "International Development and the Importance of Gender"

Cheryl Brown Henderson, Ronald C. Griffin, Stephen A. Adams, "Giving Visibility, Voice and Victory to the Disenfranchised: A Legacy of Brown v. The Board of Education."



Lani Guinier, Civil Rights Activist
Co-sponsored with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Week Committee

Robert Meeropol, "The Death Penalty: The Rosenbergs and Mumia Abu-Jamal"

Barbara Bergmann, "Bringing About Equality Between Women and Men: What Needs To Be Done"

Mayor Bob Knight, "Undoing Racism"



Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, "Human Rights and the Media"

Noam Chomsky, "Sovereignty and World Order"
Co-sponsored with the Lou Douglas Lecture Series



Timothy E. Quill, M.D., "Physician-Assisted Death: Progress or Peril?"

Barry W. Lynn, "Religious Right-Radically Wrong"

Gwendolyn Mink, "Feminists and Poor Single Mothers: Work, Welfare, and Women's Equality"



Valorie K. Vojdik, Lead Counselor in Faulkner vs. Citadel



Professor Camille Hébert, Ohio State University College of Law

Morris Dees, Jr., Southern Poverty Law Center, Chief Trial Counselor



Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Former Surgeon General



Professor Nadine Strossen, President of ACLU