In a timely topic taken from current news headlines, UNC Charlotte’s Constitution Day event will consider the “Tension Between National Security and Personal Privacy,” on Tuesday, September 17 from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in McKnight Hall in the Cone University Center.
Sponsored by UNC Charlotte Academic Affairs, the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and The Pre-Law Society, this year’s event will feature panelists Clark Walton and Sarah Preston and moderator Cynthia Combs. The panelists also are scheduled to discuss the topic on Monday, September 16 at 9 a.m. on WFAE radio’s Charlotte Talks.
“We have a panel of experts who are well educated on the issues that appear in the news on an almost daily basis,” said Kathleen Nicolaides, senior lecturer and pre-law and academic advisor.
“Clark Walton recently won the ABA Young Lawyers Award, just co-authored the ABA’s new Cybersecurity Guidebook, teaches at Charlotte School of Law, and is in private practice here in Charlotte,” Nicolaides said. “Sarah Preston is the policy director for the ACLU in Raleigh and speaks on privacy issues regularly. Cindy Combs is a well known scholar on terrorism issues and a faculty member in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration.”
The panel will address, among other things, the Snowden issues, the Fourth Amendment and privacy issues. The panelists will answer audience questions toward the end of the event. Members of The Pre-law Society will facilitate the question-and-answer period.
The annual event marks the observance of the federal Constitution Day, or Citizenship Day, recognizing the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and those who have become citizens due to either coming of age or naturalization.
The Pre-Law Society exists to fulfill several goals for its members: provide them with the knowledge necessary to make crucial decisions as they seek admission to law school, to deepen their understanding of the legal profession, encourage scholastic excellence, and foster lifelong relationships.
About the panel
Walton is a practicing attorney with Alexander Ricks, PLLC in Charlotte and is an adjunct professor at the Charlotte School of Law, where he teaches a course on cyber crime. He is a former special federal prosecutor, served as an assistant district attorney in Mecklenburg County, and worked in private practice with the Charlotte office of Mayer Brown LLP. He has been an advisory member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security since 2011 and co-authored “The Impact of Technology on National Security Law,” a chapter in Committee’s 50th Anniversary anthology, in 2012. He was also a contributing author to the ABA Cybersecurity Handbook, published this July. Walton received the ABA’s National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2012 and is currently chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.
Prior to the practice of law, Walton worked as a Central Intelligence Agency cyber security analyst. He also completed a White House internship on Vice President Cheney’s Homeland Security staff, as well as an FBI Honors Internship. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and holds a mathematical sciences degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Preston is the Policy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, having held that position for six years. She holds a law degree from Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from St. Catherine University in Minnesota. Preston directs and manages the statewide legislative program of the ACLU-NC, educating federal, state, and local policy makers on civil liberties issues. The majority of her work is at the state level, but she also works at the community level to educate the public about the legislative process and the ACLU’s legislative priorities as well as to build grassroots support for these priorities.
Before joining the ACLU-NC, she trained as a mediator, participating in Drake University Law School’s pilot Clinic Program, “Civil Rights Mediation.” She completed both the Legislative Practice Certificate and the Constitutional Law and Civil Rights Certificate programs while at Drake. She has been admitted to both the Iowa and North Carolina Bars and is chair of the board of directors for both the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children Education Fund and the North Carolina Coalition for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Combs is a Political Science and Public Administration professor interested in the study of terrorism and conflict resolution. She works with local, national, and international agencies focused on the prevention and response of terrorist attacks, linking UNC Charlotte with academic entities in other parts of the world that are doing terrorism research. Her research interests also include human rights.
As adviser to the university’s Model United Nations organization, Combs explores the use of diplomacy and international law to resolve conflicts, engaging her students in conferences with others throughout the world who are concerned with finding solutions to global problems. Combs received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Appalachian State University and her doctorate in the same discipline from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.