Sunday, June 30, 2013

SPS 2013: Slideshow of Dinner and Monument Tour with Visiting Students

See below for a slide show of photos from last night's dinner and visit to the Monuments with the visiting IBSC Students. Click on any photo to go to the online Google photo album. (NOTE: the slide show is powered by Adobe Flash and thus will not show up on Apple mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads.)

SPS 2013: Dinner and a Twilight Monument Tour with International Guests

At dinner with our guests from the IBSC
Last night the St. Albans School of Public Service class of 2013, now that they are one-week veterans on the St. Albans campus, played host to some even more far-flung visitors: forty students and teachers from boys' schools across the globe (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, UK, and USA).  The visiting students and teachers are taking part in the International Boys' School Coalition ("IBSC") Conference, held in Richmond, and the IBSC and School of Public Service students are joining forces for the weekend.  The evening began with dinner in the St. Albans Refectory, then both groups took a twilight walking tour of the Monuments on the National Mall ably directed by SPS faculty member John Stephany.  Today, the IBSC group will return to campus and the two groups will take part in a joint case study.

Getting acquainted at dinner

Walking up out of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Strolling through the World War II Memorial

Our Tennessee SPS students pose by their state column at the WWII Memorial (from left: Jamila, Kyungchan, Sarah, Gaby)

Students from SPS and the IBSC Conference at the WWII Memorial

The Martin Luther King Memorial in the twilight

Some of the SPS crew near the MLK Memorial

Saturday, June 29, 2013

SPS at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

This afternoon the St. Albans School of Public Service Class of 2013 checked out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which celebrations the cultural heritage and folkways of different countries and different regions of the USA as well. This year the Folklife Festival is focusing on the culture and traditions of Hungary, as well as on disappearing languages throughout the world. Check out the photo below of some of our SPS students cutting a rug at the Hungarian Dance Barn at the Festival!

Friday, June 28, 2013

SPS 2013: First Economics Class of the Session

Mr. Eagles in action
Today SPS 2013 had their first economics class in the mini-seminar offered by SPS Faculty member Mr. Ted Eagles.  In a roundtable discussion, the SPSers were able to have their own version of a fiscal “Ted Talk.” Mr. Eagles addressed baseline concepts such as GDP, consumer confidence and globalization and even delved into the nuances of unemployment. Though students analyzed some graphic data, Mr. Eagles pointed to some of the limitations of running the numbers. The net result was an interesting first glimpse of domestic and international trends by these future public servants and policy makers.  (And kudos to Ben. P. for knowing China's current economic growth rate!)

From left: Sam H., Will M., and Ben P.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

SPS 2013: Reception With the SPS Board

This evening the St. Albans School Public Service of Class of 2013 was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet some of the members of the Board of the School of Public Service, and additional Friends of SPS, who have supported the program that has brought them all to Washington, D.C. for a great four week experience.
Ben, Mrs. Graves, and Matt E.

Kevin with General Graves

Jamila, Mr. Platts, and Nick 

Mr. Hammer, Jimmy, Matt C., and Grady

SPS 2013: Slideshow of Photos from Crisis Simulation

Enjoy a slideshow of photos from today's crisis simulation at the St. Albans School of Public Service. Click on any photo to go to the Google online photo album. (Note: The slideshow is powered by Flash so it will NOT be visible on any Apple mobile device such as the iPhone or iPad.)

SPS 2013 Faces a Crisis in the Congo! (Simulated)

The members of the 2013 class of the St. Albans School of Public Service are currently involved in a crisis simulation.  They have been divided into four "countries": China, Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"), and South Africa, and given a scenario of a [simulated] foreign policy crisis.  In this scenario, China hacked into Belgian governmental records that contained digitized colonial-era maps of valuable mineral deposits in the DRC.  Shortly after this was discovered, there were violent attacks on Congolese mines.  The culprits appear to be South African mercenaries working for aggressive South African private mining interests . . . but could there be a Chinese connection?  Below, the countries plan, negotiate, and make public statements about the crisis.

From left: Max, Kate, and Kevin
Madame Isabel G., spokeswoman for Belgium, and translater Monsieur Grady W.

China's spokesman, Jim H., was forceful yet diplomatic

In the Belgian situation room (from left): Tyler, Samantha, and Spencer

From left: Nick, Cici, and Matt E.

South African diplomats (from left): Stefano, Rachel, and Ryan make their points in a bilateral negotiation with China

The Sarah Summit! From left: Sarah K., Sarah I., Sararose G.

SPS 2013: "Ted Trip" to the Brookings Institution to Hear the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Speak on Cybersecurity

Today's "Ted Trip*" -- the third of SPS Week One -- was to the Brookings Institution, one of the country's best known think tanks -- to hear General Martin Dempsey of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discuss cybersecurity.  Click HERE for more information on the event from the Brookings, and click HERE for a link to New York Times coverage of what the Times called General Dempsey's "first major address" on cyberwarfare.

(*"Ted Trips" are small group trips organized and led by SPS Faculty member Mr. Ted Eagles.  All SPS 2013 will have the opportunity to go along on one or more "Ted Trips" during SPS 2013.)
General Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff, speaking at the Brookings on cybersecurity (photo by SPS 2013 student Will R.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SPS 2013: The Supreme Court of St. Albans Strikes Down DOMA, Allows Lower Court Ruling on Prop. 8 to Stand

In today's mock Supreme Court argument, we had two Supreme Courts simultaneously hearing and deciding the case. (See Courts pictured below.) The courts have now ruled. They have struck both struck down DOMA, citing the Equal Protection Clause and a federalism interest in allowing states to define marriage to include same-sex marriages. In the California Proposition 8 case, they have allowed the lower court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs' right to marry to stand, deferring to the State of California's decision to not defend Proposition 8 from challenge.

SPS 2013: The Campus Waits as the Justices Ponder their Decisions . . .

The "Justices" are currently in conference, making their decisions! Photos below:

SPS 2013: The "SPS Supreme Court" is Now in Session!

The "St. Albans Supreme Court" is meeting this afternoon to decide the two same-sex marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this year.  One case involves a challenge to the federal law Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), which provides that federal law will only recognize marriages between a man and a woman, and the other involves a challenge to California's Proposition 8, which amended the California State constitution to ban same-sex marriages.  It just so happens the "real" Supreme Court decided those cases this morning -- click HERE for a link to press coverage of the decisions -- but that is not deterring our own SPS 2013 lawyers and justices from considering the cases!

Attorney Grant S. at the podium
Formal Court photo
Lawyers challenging DOMA make their arguments
Justice Nik V.  contemplates and argument from counsel

Two of the lawyers await their turn to be grilled by the Court!

Sararose speaking before the Court

Justices Matt, Tyler, and Tanner consider the arguments

SPS 2013: New York Times Reporter Ian Urbina Speaks to the St. Albans School of Public Service

New York Times reporter Mr. Ian Urbina
This morning we hosted Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times reporter Ian Urbina, a St. Albans School graduate.  Mr. Urbina spoke about the process of investigative journal in general, and then gave SPS insight into his recent work on the role of OSHA in addressing (or failing to address) long-term health hazards in the American workplace.  (Click HERE for a link to that article.)  During the extensive Q & A that followed, Mr. Urbina also discussed his work with the team that uncovered the prostitution scandal that forced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer from office--work for which Mr. Urbina and his colleagues received the Pulitzer Prize.  

In preparation for Mr. Urbina's visit, the SPSers read his OSHA article, as well as discussing a Harvard Kennedy School case study focusing on the undercover "hidden camera" variety of investigative journalism.  (Click HERE for an abstract of that case study.)

SPS 2013 enjoyed the Q & A session with Mr. Ian Urbina of the New York Times (from left: Will R., Rachel H., Spencer, and Sam)

SPS 2013: Move Over "Ted Talks," It's Time for "Ted Trips"!

A C-Span 2 screen shot from the Data Surveillance event showing three SPS  students in attendance (from left, at the bottom left corner of the screen: Maddy, Samantha, and Matt E.)

The St. Albans School of Public Service takes full advantage of our location in Washington, D.C., not least by organizing small group trips to attend many of the interesting think tank panels, speeches, and events throughout the summer.  Senior SPS Faculty member Edward ("Ted") Eagles is the moving behind the "Ted Trips," beginning with yesterday's trip accompanying twelve SPS 2013 students to an event at the DC think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies ("CSIS").

At CSIS, the students attended a panel discussion moderated by longtime CBS news veteran Bob Schieffer (part of the ongoing CSIS Schieffer Series on Foreign Policy, Politics, and Leadership), on some of the hottest issues of the day: NSA Data Surveillance, the PRISM Program, and Edward Snowden.  (Click on the embedded YouTube video at the bottom of the post for a recording panel presentation that our SPS students attended live.)  There was enough interest in this session to bring out the TV cameras from CSPAN -- see the screen shot above capturing some of our SPS 2013 students in attendance!

Next up in the "Ted Trips": thirteen School of Public Service students are off with Mr. Eagles to the American Enterprise Institute ("AEI") to hear a lecture from historian Allen Guelzo on the significance of the Battle of Gettysburg as we approach the 150th anniversary of the battle.  Click here to see a further description of the Gettysburg lecture event!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SPS 2013: Case Studies and Case Law

It was all about cases today -- case studies and case law, as the St. Albans School of Public Service class of 2013 preps for the mock Supreme Court argument tomorrow. This morning, we split into three case study groups for "The Case of the Jailhouse Lawyer," a case study (written by SPS) that uses the famous Gideon v. Wainwright Supreme Court case (which established a right to counsel for defendants who could not pay for an attorney) as a vehicle for exploring the mechanisms of the American justice system.

This will set up SPS 2013 nicely for tomorrow's big event: a mock Supreme Court argument of the same sex marriage cases from the U.S. Supreme Court's current term. Click HERE for a link to the well known "scotusblog" site describing the ins and outs same sex marriage cases:

This afternoon the SPS 2013 students began prepping for the mock oral argument tomorrow afternoon.  SPS faculty members Ms. Woods, Ms. Chapin Duke, and Mr. Eagles briefed the group about the same sex marriage cases, and then the group divided into teams of lawyers who will argue the two same sex marriage cases, and two panels of "SPS Supreme Court Justices" to hear their arguments.  One of the cases is a challenge to DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the other a challenge to California's Proposition 8, which amended California's state constitution to bar same sex marriage.  In both cases, there is a challenge to the relevant statute/Constitutional provision under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  (As the SPS faculty members explained, there are some procedural wrinkles that may mean the "real" Supreme Court does not rule on the merits of the Equal Protection Clause claim, but the SPS students will still focus their arguments on the substantive constitutional issues.)

See below for scenes of the SPS 2013 "Justices and Lawyers" working to prepare the case for tomorrow!