Introduction to the President, 2011

Welcome to the Fall Issue of the Greater Lafayette ACLU newsletter.

Let me start by giving heartfelt thanks to our retiring co-presidents, Roberta Schonemann and Judy Weitzman.

Since I am the new president as of August 2011, let me introduce myself.

Having been born into a minority religious family, we always considered the ACLU as the protector of minori- ties’ civil liberties. While growing up, working, and raising a family on the east coast, my only involvement with the ACLU was annually paying dues.

After retiring from the practice of psychiatry and moving to West Point, IN to be near our fourth child and only daughter (and her husband and four children) we quickly got involved with the Greater Lafayette ACLU-IN. Initially I was on the screening committee, whose function is to screen calls for assistance and to refer the callers to the ACLU-IN office in Indianapolis where the lawyers (2) and the paralegal are situated. They make the final decision as to whether or not the ACLU-IN can handle a given case.

This year, among other things, the ACLU-IN was involved in a number of cases including: 1. Allowing a child to wear a breast cancer awareness bracelet; 2. Challenging a school’s right to punish two high school students for posting “inappropriate” pictures on MySpace during their summer vacation, even though the pictures had nothing to do with the school; 3. Protesting the Department of Corrections’ segregating seriously mentally ill patients in solitary confinement for extended periods of time.

Learn more by accessing the ACLU-IN web site and clicking on “Litigation”.

During this year, our local ACLU-IN chapter sponsored several informational forums. At the annual dinner in April, Dr. Susan Curtis spoke about “The Delphs of Indiana”, a presumed immigration history of the family of State Representative Mike Delph, who sponsored the Indiana immigration law.

We presented the “School to Prison Pipeline” twice; once at the West Lafayette Public Library and once at Jefferson High School. Panelists were the same for both programs. Both were well attended. In September, to celebrate Banned Book Week, Dr. Susan Curtis led a lively, well-attended discussion of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and its inclusion of the “n-” word, which had led to its being banned.

In addition, our chapter had a table presence at both the Outfest and HannaFest and was able to talk about the ACLU-IN and its activities with people from diverse community populations.

We are looking forward to more educational forums this coming year and welcome ideas, suggestions, and feedback from our members!

Walter Dalsimer

President, Greater Lafayette Chapter ACLU of Indiana