Smith and Hutchens to Co-Present at Education Law Conference

Smith (left) and Hutchens (right) are co-presenting a paper in November.

Smith (left) and Hutchens (right) are co-presenting a paper in November.

Higher Education Chair Neal Hutchens and Ph.D. Student Kelly Smith will present a paper at the annual Education Law Association (ELA) Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, in November.

The conference will run from November 8-10, 2018. Hutchens and Smith will present “Legal and Policy Disputes Surrounding Naming Rights in Higher Education.”

This presentation will explore the legal, moral and ethical issues of postsecondary campus naming opportunities across the United States, specifically those tied to philanthropic gifts in exchange for permanent public recognitions.

“This is my first time presenting at an academic conference,” Smith said. “As someone raised in northeast Ohio, I am especially thrilled to present for the first time in Cleveland. There’s something special about experiencing something new in a familiar setting”.

Last semester, Smith wrote a paper in her Law of Higher Education class about legal and ethical ramifications of renaming buildings on college campuses, especially named spaces derived from monetary donations. Renaming buildings tied to philanthropic gifts can cause great tension among students, alumni, and university administration and she wanted to learn more about how these situations arise and, more importantly, how campuses and courtrooms (if necessary) address these incidents. This project is especially timely as the University of Mississippi recently faced a renaming controversy renaming its School of Journalism and New Media.

“I am so grateful to work with Dr. Hutchens on this project”, said Smith. “He is a fantastic mentor and just the kind of professor that every doctoral student hopes to encounter during their time of study. I am very lucky to learn from him and to co-present with him in November”!

Laura Beth Lott