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Banned Books Week - Harper Lee on Trial at Montana Tech

09/06/2019

In recognition of national Banned Books Week (September 22-28), Montana Tech is going to put Harper Lee on trial, asking the court to ban her book To Kill a Mockingbird. The mock trial will be held on Tuesday, September 24th at 7:00 pm in the Copper Lounge of the Student Union Building on Tech’s campus. Prior to the student-run trial, Ellen Crain from the Butte Archives will talk about actual banning of books in Butte’s history, Sharon Curtis and DeHanza Kwong from the Butte Public Library will discuss their book vetting process, and Dr. John Ray and Dr. John Garic will have a Point/Counterpoint on the issue. Students, faculty, staff and the Butte community are invited to this free public event.

“Here at Montana Tech, in addition to academic freedom and responsibilities, we believe it is important for us to help our students understand their citizenship freedoms and responsibilities,” said Dr. Carrie Vath, Dean of Students. “One such freedom is the freedom to explore and express ideas, even if that exploration and expression is unpopular to some or even offensive to others. We hope this mock trial accomplishes our citizenship goals in an interesting and even entertaining way.”

The characters in the mock trial of The People vs Harper Lee will be played by students. The trial has been written and directed by Dr. John Garic of the Business & Information Technology Department who is also an attorney and former judge.

“Harper Lee and her book, To Kill a Mockingbird, are long-time national treasures,” noted Tech’s Library Director, Associate Professor Scott Juskiewicz. “Nevertheless, there have been various efforts to ban it since its publication in 1960. Fortunately, this book, and the many others which have been the objects of ban efforts, has remained available. Montana Tech values, supports and advocates for the maintenance of our freedom to read, to write and to express ourselves fully and without interference.”

The Tech Library will also have a public exhibit as part of Banned Books Week. The mock trial event is part of Tech’s participation in the American Democracy Project, a network of more than 250 state colleges and universities focused on public higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy.

For any further information about this issue or any issue pertaining to this event or Montana Tech, please contact Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828 or Dr. John Garic at 406-496-4820.