Science Court aims to shed light on Controversial Societal Issues
Usually when political and social disagreements take place, arguments are carried out in a hostile and unmonitored environment. “Science Court,” created by Ellad Tadmor, looks to carry out these discussions in a mock trial environment complete with a judge and citizen jury. Science Court is a seminar that involves students from across the university who will work together in three teams to thoroughly investigate and study a controversial topic.
For the project to come together, Ellad Tadmor worked with an attorney from the Hennepin County Public Defender Office, Collin Tierney; Laura Clatch, who is a Ph.D. student in Social Psychology; and Melody Gilbert, who is an independent documentary filmmaker. The class is now available in the University Honors Program.
This year’s case is “Should the State of Minnesota implement a 1:1 technology program in K-12 public schools, assigning one device (laptop or tablet) to every student for educational use in school and at home?”
The three teams are the science team, the legal team, and the media team. The legal team argues both sides of the case based on the facts that have been investigated by the science team and the media team reports on the process of the trial and the final verdict to engage the community in the issue.
Science Court’s mission is to address polarization in the United States democracy and the lack of trust in institutions. They aim to help democracy prosper in the hostile environment that has been created in the United States. Science court is currently looking for volunteers 18 years and older to serve on the citizen jury, who will be able to hear these arguments and formulate their own opinions on the topic.
If you are 18 or older and interested in volunteering for the jury, please visit https://scicourt.umn.edu/content/volunteer-citizen-jury