March 14 Janus Forum postponed until April

Editor's note: Due to illness of one of the featured speakers, the Janus Forum scheduled for Tuesday, March 14, is postponed. A new date will be announced.

By Jason Barone, CAS communications director

Heather Mac Donald and Dawn Porter, two prominent national voices on the criminal justice system and race relations, will be sharing their viewpoints on the topic, “Can Both Black and Blue Lives Matter?” for the annual spring Janus Forum.

Heather Mac Donald

Heather Mac Donald

Their public discussion will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, in the Armstrong Student Center’s Harry T. Wilks Theater. Although the event is free, tickets are required via the Miami University box office (513-529-3200) due to limited seating.

“Once again the JANUS students have identified an important topic that is both timely and critically important to the state of our democracy, of our effort to craft a ‘More Perfect Union,’” said Patrick J. Haney, professor and chair of the department of political science. “These speakers will help us air out a variety of important issues from different perspectives -- exactly the mission of the Janus Forum.”

Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Writing on such topics as higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal justice reform, and race relations, her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, and The New Criterion.

A nonpracticing lawyer with a J.D. from Stanford University, Mac Donald was appointed to former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s task force on the City University of New York in 1998. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. In 2016, Mac Donald received the Excellence in Media Award from the National Police Defense Foundation's State Troopers Coalition.

Her newest book is The War on Cops, which “warns that raced-based attacks on the criminal justice system, from the White House on down, are eroding the authority of law and putting lives at risk.”

Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter

Porter is a documentary filmmaker whose 2013 film, “Gideon’s Army,” won the Sundance Film Festival Editing Award, the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award, the Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize, and more. It “has been used across the globe to engage local communities in important conversations about indigent defense, race, the U.S. justice system, and socioeconomic influences on crime.”

A graduate of Swarthmore College and Georgetown Law Center who practiced law for five years, Porter is the founder of production company Trilogy Films. She produced and directed the critically-acclaimed “Spies of Mississippi,” described as “a journey into the world of informants, infiltrators, and agent provocateurs in the heart of Dixie” and “Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper,” which chronicles President Obama’s program to help young men and boys of color succeed.

Porter’s most recent documentary is “Trapped,” which explores the impact of laws regulating abortion clinics in the South. It aired on PBS in June 2016.

As Mac Donald and Porter take the Janus Forum stage this month, their discussion will be moderated by Sara Rosomoff, an economics major.

“It is incredibly exciting to be discussing a topic so relevant to the discourse currently happening throughout the country,” Rosomoff said. “Coming from St. Louis, I have seen many of our race relation problems firsthand. We don’t talk about our criminal justice system and the role of race in our society enough. There are many areas of improvement, and I can’t wait to hear Ms. Porter and Ms. MacDonald’s thoughts on the subject.”

Audience members are invited to tweet their questions and comments during the event at #janusmiamioh.

The Janus Forum, held every fall and spring semester, is sponsored by The Thomas W. Smith Institute for Political Economy and the Miami’s department of political science. It is made possible through the generous support of The Thomas W. Smith (Miami ’50) Foundation.

For more information, contact Ruben Garza, Janus Forum program coordinator, at or visit the Janus Forum website.