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Northwestern MLK Dream Week events highlight ‘me too’ movement

  • Q&A event with Tarana Burke scheduled for noon, Jan. 27, Chicago campus
  • Law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer discusses rise of informal reporting with students Jan. 21


CHICAGO — Northwestern University will commemorate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a series of events Jan. 15 to 28, 2020. Many events are free and open to the public, including the keynote events with ‘me too.’ Movement founder Tarana Burke on Jan. 27.

Burke will speak on the Chicago campus at noon in Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Thorne Auditorium, 375 E. Chicago Ave., and at 5 p.m. on the Evanston campus at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive.

Northwestern Law Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer will present a talk for students on “Disclosing in the Time of #MeToo.” The talk covers the rise of informal reporting on social media and other unofficial channels, and how survivors could be impacted.

Drawing from her recently published journal article “Beyond #MeToo,” Tuerkheimer will discuss various unofficial reporting channels such as the Traditional Whisper Network, the Double Secret Whisper Network, the Shadow Court of Public Opinion and the New Court of Public Opinion, and how they can advance several important ends.

“There are limits to what informal accusation can accomplish, particularly because it deliberately bypasses official systems of accountability,” writes Tuerkheimer in her article. “To be clear, this shunning of the law of sexual misconduct is not a novel development, nor is it unexpected. Sexual abuse victims have long been disserved by the criminal law, by campus disciplinary processes and by workplace complaint mechanisms. Over time, survivors have mostly turned away from the institutions that have forsaken them.”

Tuerkheimer hopes the talk will help students make sense of a confusing time.

“It’s important to understand the benefits of unofficial reporting for survivors and also its limitations. This is not the end point, but more of an evolution,” she said.
The Women’s Center at Northwestern will host a series of events to support survivors of sexual violence and harassment, and connect the work of social activists Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tarana Burke. The complete schedule is available in the MLK Dream Week 2020 press kit.


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