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Prof. Donna E. Arzt named first holder of Syracuse University College of Law’s Bond, Schoeneck & King chair
Prof. Donna E. Arzt named first holder of Syracuse University College of Law’s Bond, Schoeneck & King chairApril 17, 2002Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
Donna E. Arzt has been named the first holder of the Bond, Schoeneck & King Distinguished Professorship at Syracuse University’s College of Law. The professorship, which has a term of two years, will include a salary supplement and travel and research funds.
Daan Braveman, dean of SU’s College of Law, says, “I am very pleased to appoint Prof. Arzt as the first recipient of the Bond, Schoeneck and King Distinguished Professorship. Donna is an extraordinarily productive scholar, specializing in international human rights issues. She is also a wonderful teacher who is committed to her students.” Braveman added that he is “very grateful to BS&K for establishing this professorship and allowing us to recognize our faculty.”
“Though I knew I had been nominated, I am actually in a state of shock since learning of the honor. I still think of myself as one of the ‘young turks’ on the faculty. I have too few gray hairs to be considered ‘distinguished!'” Arzt jokes, adding that she is “deeply honored to be the first recipient of the Bond, Schoeneck & King Distinguished Professorship.”
Arzt was nominated by Prof. Arlene Kanter, former associate dean and director of the law school’s Clinical Legal Education department. “Donna Arzt is the appropriate person to be the College of Law’s inaugural Bond, Schoeneck & King chair,” Kanter says. “Throughout her career, she has been recognized as an exceptionally bright and innovative scholar and teacher in the area of international human rights law. She exemplifies the best in our profession.”
James E. Mackin, chair of Bond, Schoeneck & King, confessed that the Syracuse-headquarted law firm had several motivations in establishing the chair. “This endowment will help insure that current and future SU law students–some of whom will practice law with our firm–are taught and mentored by dedicated, outstanding law professors such as Donna Arzt,” he said. “Bond, Schoeneck & King is honored to endow a distinguished professorship at the College of Law because of the special relationship we have enjoyed with Syracuse University covering virtually a century of our firm’s existence.”
Arzt served as director of the Lockerbie Trial ~ Families Project, a password-protected website established with a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime to provide families of the victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing with an accurate, comprehensive view of the trial of two Libyans for the crime.
“The Lockerbie project brought together students, faculty, computing staff, secretarial staff and the U.S. Department of Justice and provided daily information about the case to family members,” says Braveman.
Before coming to Syracuse in 1988, Arzt practiced public interest law in Boston and was an assistant attorney general for the state of Massachusetts in civil rights and regulation of charitable solicitation. She has published numerous articles on human rights in the Soviet Union and the Middle East and served as a consultant to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Human Rights Watch and the U.N. special rapporteur on population transfer. She received the Michael J. Tryson Memorial Award for Excellence and Leadership in the field of human rights law. Her book “Refugees into Citizens: Palestinians and the End of the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” was published by the Council on Foreign Relations in 1997. She serves as director of the Center for Global Law and Practice. Her current research pertains to the Middle East peace process, refugees, religious freedom in secular states, humanitarian intervention and Islamic law.
Arzt is grateful to Dean Braveman and other College of Law administrators for giving the support to undertake some innovative teaching techniques in the past few years, including experimental uses of technology in and outside the classroom. She also commends Braveman for broadening the course offerings in international law. “Daan’s creation of this new professorship, and his securing its sponsorship by Bond, Schoeneck & King, are tributes to his commitment to innovation in legal education,” she says.
As to how she will use the resources that come with the new chair, Arzt is still thinking. “In a few days I will have to sit down and do some detailed planning, but in general, I hope to be able to get back to some of the more ‘hard-core’ types of scholarship that I had to put on the back burner over the past 2 1/2 years while directing the Lockerbie Trial Families Project,” she says. “Most of the writing that I’ve been doing for that project has been for a non-legal, though educated, audience. Hence, I’ve been experiencing symptoms of ‘footnote-withdrawal,’ a condition which law professors undergo when they’ve spent too much time in the ‘real world!'”
One project that Arzt hopes to get back to is a study she has tentatively entitled The Demise of State Neutrality. “It asks the question whether the international legal community should continue to allow states to declare themselves neutral in the face of the genocidal brutalities that now exist in world affairs,” she says.