Reno to visit CSU campus

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Feb 032005
 
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

After spending eight years directly in the public eye during former President Clinton's administration, former Attorney General Janet Reno is coming to CSU campus to lecture about her role as a public official.

Reno will give a lecture titled "A Life in Public Service" 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Lory Student Center Ballroom. A question-and-answer session will follow the speech, said Barb Kistler of the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement, which is co-sponsoring the event.

Reno's visit is a response to focus groups SLCE held last fall with students and faculty to determine what they would be interested in seeing from SLCE .

"They wanted to see speakers," Kistler said. "They said, 'expose us to people who have been in public service.' They wanted to be exposed to well-known people who are doing public service. They want role models. They wanted to hear from people who are real but they're not so saintly that (they) could be like that."

After receiving a degree in chemistry from Cornell University in New York, Reno was one of 16 women to enroll at Harvard Law School in 1960.

Reno was appointed the first woman to the Attorney General position, and she spent her life from 1993 to 2001 leading the nation's largest law enforcement office. She served the longest term in the position since the Civil War.

During her tenure, Reno helped enforce policies on civil rights and race relations, the environment, gun control and immigration.

She also helped increase communications between information technology companies and federal agencies in an effort to increase Internet security.

"She's lead an incredible life," Kistler said. "Whether you agree with her politics or not. It's an opportunity of a lifetime to see and talk to someone who's had a significant influence on public policy. I'm going to talk to her and ask her how she was able to maintain it."

Reno was chosen from a list that included Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey.

"(Reno) was someone generated in a list by focus groups who was available and affordable," Kistler said. "This one is a great program because it was driven by our constituents."

The decision to host Reno in the LSC Ballroom came from estimates that she would draw a crowd bigger than the LSC theatre could hold, but less than the capacity of Moby Gym.

Lindsay Hansen, a senior studying French, said she would definitely be interested if she were available.

"Given the state of politics today it might be apropos to some of the events going on today," Hansen said. "It would be interesting."

Political affiliations persuaded Janet Clements, a resource economics graduate student, to become interested in seeing Reno speak.

"I'm interested in politics and I'm a Clinton fan, so I'm interested in hearing what she has to say," Clements said.

Michele Betsill, an assistant professor in the Political Science Department, said students should attend even if they have little interest in politics or law.

"Such figures (as Reno) may provide insight into the personal traits and/or experiences that can help students achieve success in their lives, no matter what they end up doing," Betsill wrote in an email interview.

Tickets for students are free and available at the Campus Box Office at the LSC Info Desk; the charge is $5.50 for non-students. Kistler recommended tickets be purchased in advance, but tickets will also be available at the door, subject to availability.

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