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Students drawn to new social justice course
A new class launched this fall by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications seeks to give students a greater understanding of human trafficking and other human rights and social justice issues.
Dean Maria Marron came up with the idea for “Social Justice, Human Rights and the Media,” which is taught by Sriyani Tidball. A member of the advertising and public relations faculty, Tidball has been an activist fighting human trafficking in Sri Lanka and the United States. She is also an organizer of UNL’s annual international research conference on human trafficking.
“It optimizes Sriyani’s passion for human rights with the college’s focus on the media and interest in social justice,” Marron said. “I also saw this class as an opportunity for students from other disciplines to gain greater media literacy through the prism of human rights and social justice.”
The class is open to all students and fulfills two of UNL’s general education requirements, for ethics and civics, and for global awareness and human diversity.
Along with human trafficking, the class will study issues facing American Indians, African Americans and immigrants. Tidball is urging students to take part in an array of human rights-oriented activities being offered on and off campus this fall. One example is the Sept. 15-16 symposium on design and social justice featuring former leaders of the Black Panther Party. They will talk about how graphic design and underground publications were used to promote the group’s ideas and goals.
The class has proven popular. Though it was created too late to be included in this year’s course catalog, it received more than enough registrations to fill the 120-person capacity of the Andersen Hall auditorium.