Thursday, August 25, 2011

University of Wyoming Student Chapter Launches Wednesday

Students from the University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming College of Law, and Laramie County Community College met last night to form the student chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union at UW.

Meeting attendees represented a diversity of majors and colleges. Matt Pennell, a student at the UW School of Law and former ACLU intern, explained the chapter's mission, goals, and connection with the state and national ACLU organizations. Alex Brink, a former ACLU intern and key organizer of the inaugural chapter, described how the chapter will function, who is eligible to be an officer, and how the process of electing officers was to operate.

The chapter held elections of officers, with members voting on nominees for Co-Presidents and Treasurer. Elections for Historian and Secretary were suspended until the next meeting in order to allow all nominated members for the positions to attend. Elected were Matt Pennell, Co-President from the UW Law School; Meg Lanker-Simons, undergraduate Co-President; and Peter Steiner, Treasurer.

Wyoming ACLU Staff Attorney, Jennifer Horvath, was also present for the meeting and elections. Horvath detailed the ACLU's history briefly, discussed the importance of the ACLU's non-partisan status as an organization, and closed the meeting by drawing a ticket for the door prize. After elections, members conferred about potential upcoming events and planned for the next meeting.

The ACLU of Wyoming's Student Chapter is unique, being the first hybrid student chapter in the country, with full membership open to UW undergraduates, LCCC students, and UW Law School students. Interested community members are also welcome to attend, though only students can run for officer positions within the chapter.

The next meeting is currently scheduled for September 28th at 6:00 p.m. in the UW Senate Chambers on the second floor of the Wyoming Union. For more information, email the UW ACLU Student Chapter at

> By Meg Lanker-Simons