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School of Law Federalist Society to Host Freedom of Speech Lecture on Oct. 30

The Federalist Society graphic that says, "Debate. Discuss. Decide." The USD School of Law Federalist Society hosts Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon, director of litigation for FIRE, on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota School of Law Federalist Society will host Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon, director of litigation for the Foundation for Individual Rights (FIRE), for a lecture on freedom of speech on college campuses on Oct. 30 at noon.

Marieke, a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law, clerked for the Honorable A. Richard Caputo in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania before joining the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as a legal fellow in 2009.

She later joined the Philadelphia firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis as a commercial litigation associate, where she continued to work on civil rights cases on a pro bono basis, focusing primarily on the First Amendment.

"We have been watching campus speech issues across the nation at other campuses,” said Danielle Rang, a second-year law student and president of USD’s Federalist Society chapter. “It's a hot topic that students seem interested in, and we are extremely excited Marieke has agreed to come speak to us. The event has generated some interest in the local community and we expect a great turnout."

FIRE was founded in 1999 by University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors and Boston civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverqlate. Its mission is to defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities including freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience.

The lecture is hosted in room 101 of the School of Law. It will be followed by a short question and answer session.


USD’s Knudson School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News