NYU Constitution Day 2020: Voting Rights in America
September 23, 2020
The NYU Brademas Center, NYU Votes and NYU Government Affairs celebrated the signing of the U.S. Constitution with a special performance on the history of voting rights in America entitled: You Can't Unring the Bell created by NYU Steinhardt's Verbatim Performance Lab.
Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day, is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution (September 17, 1787) and those who have become U.S. citizens.
NYU Students, faculty/staff as well as local community members were invited to this free performance and discussion with Jack Knott, Dean of NYU Steinhardt, and Franita Tolson, Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
The Verbatim Performance Lab (VPL) investigates and performs words and gestures collected from found media artifacts and interview-based data. Through these investigations, VPL disrupts assumptions, biases and intolerances across a spectrum of political, cultural and social narratives.
Lynne Brown, Executive Director, The John Brademas Center of New York University
Lynne P. Brown is the Executive Director of the John Brademas Center, where she works to develop the overall mission, messaging and strategic planning for the Center. Dr. Brown is also Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs. In that position, she is responsible for the University's interaction with government at all levels, outreach to the community, strategic communications, and university events. She oversees the offices of: Government and Community Affairs, Civic Engagement, University Events, Advertising and Publications, Web Communications, Media Production, and Public Affairs.
A political scientist by training, Dr. Brown received her B.A. from Smith College, where she was elected Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to receive her Ph.D. in political science from The Johns Hopkins University. At NYU, she taught a graduate seminar on the politics of higher education for twenty years.
Before coming to NYU, Dr. Brown worked on Capitol Hill for Congressman John Brademas and Congressman Thomas S. Foley during their tenures as Majority Whips in the House of Representatives.
A native New Yorker, Dr. Brown serves on a number of civic boards, including the Union Square Partnership, where she is co-chair; New York Building Congress, where she is Vice Chair, as well as Co-Chair of the Higher Education committee; and the Village Alliance business improvement district. She is a trustee emerita of Manhattan College (Riverdale, New York).
Jack Knott, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Jack H. Knott, a political scientist who is the former Irwin C. and Ione L. Piper Chair and dean of the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, has started at NYU as the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
During Jack’s deanship of the Sol Price School of Public Policy, the school grew substantially in resources, academic reputation, and number and quality of students, and he fostered valuable collaborations with other schools at USC, including engineering, medicine, pharmacy, education, social work, business, arts, and communications. Prior to serving as dean at USC, he was a professor of political science and head of two major research institutes, first as the director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University and then as the director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also was a visiting professor of management at the Institute for Governance and Public Management at the University of Warwick and briefly served as the interim executive director of the Michigan Higher Education Institute. Prior to his posts at Michigan State, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Russell Sage Foundation and a full-time lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley.
His area of scholarly interest, which emerged from a summer spent in Poland and the Soviet Union sponsored by the Experiment in International Living, focuses on the interrelationship between governance and policy making, both in the United States and in other countries. In particular, he works on understanding the influence on policy choices of particular governing institutional structures, including the separation of powers, federalism, and the role of private foundations in public problem solving. He is the author of many books and articles, including “The President, Congress, and the Financial Crisis: Ideology and Moral Hazard in Economic Governance,” Presidential Studies Quarterly (Spring, 2012); “When Ambition Checks Ambition: Bureaucratic Trustees and the Separation of Powers,” American Review of Public Administration (Fall, 2008), with Gary Miller; “State Governance Structures and the Performance of Public Universities,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (Fall, 2003), with Abigail Payne; and “Who Controls the Bureaucracy? Presidential Power, Congressional Dominance, Legal Constraints, and Bureaucratic Autonomy in a Model of Multi-Institutional Policy Making,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization (Spring, 1996), with Thomas Hammond. He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and served as president of the international Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.
Knott received his BA in history from Calvin College, his MA in international studies from Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies, and PhD in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Franita Tolson, Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law
Franita Tolson is Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Her scholarship and teaching focus on the areas of election law, constitutional law, legal history and employment discrimination. She has written on a wide range of topics including partisan gerrymandering, political parties, the Elections Clause, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Her research has appeared in leading law reviews including the Yale Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review and Boston University Law Review. Her forthcoming book, In Congress We Trust?: Enforcing Voting Rights from the Founding to the Jim Crow Era, will be published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press.
As a nationally recognized expert in election law, Vice Dean Tolson has written for or appeared as a commentator for various mass media outlets including The New York Times, Reuters and Bloomberg Law. She has testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. She has also authored a legal analysis for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Richard Durbin, that would explicitly protect the right to vote. Vice Dean Tolson currently works as an election law analyst for CNN and co-hosts an election themed podcast, Free and Fair with Franita and Foley, with Ned Foley of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Prior to joining USC, Vice Dean Tolson was the Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights at Florida State University College of Law and a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Before entering academia, she clerked for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Honorable Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois.
Vice Dean Tolson is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where she will be a Visiting Professor of Law during the Spring 2021 academic quarter.
You Can't Unring the Bell
Created by Keith R. Huff, Joe Salvatore, & Tammie Swopes
Investigated & Performed by Andrea Ambam, Durell Cooper, Daryl Embry, Analisa Gutierrez, Suzy Jane Hunt, Scott Michael Morales, Ashley Renee Thaxton-Stevenson, & Rachel Tuggle Whorton
Costume Coordinator: Márion Talán
Video Editor: Andrew Wagner
Meet the Cast
Established in 2017 by Sheila Birnbaum ’65, the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network (BWLN) focuses on identifying and remedying systemic inequities, enhancing the leadership pipeline of women lawyers, and cultivating a professional environment in which women may succeed. Leveraging individual, institutional, and profession-wide opportunities to foster women’s achievement, the BWLN develops innovative leadership training, including the Women’s Leadership Fellows Program and the Sara Moss Women’s Leadership Training Program (named after founding supporter Sara Moss ’74), while examining obstacles to women attorneys’ long-term success and convening strategic coalitions to support women’s advancement throughout the legal profession.
Production Support provided by NYU-TV
NYU-TV Technical Manager: s.o. O'Brien
New Media & TV Technician: Kevin Gannon
Content Specialist: Nora Lambert
NYU-TV Video Production Coordinator: Patricia Martinez
Director, NYU-TV & the Television Center: Toni Urbano