Topic: College of Sciences and Humanities
October 27, 2016
Destiny Walker was the honorary bailiff and gaveled the court into session Thursday to begin oral arguments in a civil negligence case.
Since she was 3 years old, Destiny Walker told her family that she wanted to be involved in the legal field. Nineteen years later, the Ball State University senior got a step closer to her dream when the Indiana Supreme Court visited campus.
Walker, from Anderson, Indiana, was the honorary bailiff and gaveled the court into session Thursday to begin oral arguments in Tresa Megenity v. David Dunn, a civil negligence case, on the stage of Emens Auditorium.
“As a student studying law, I am very interested in Supreme Court hearings,” said Walker, a legal studies major who won an essay contest sponsored by her program. “Through multiple internships, I’ve been able to see what it is like in the lower-level courts during hearings and trials, but this was a tremendous opportunity for someone who wants to go into the legal profession.
“I've always been a person who liked rules and wanted the rules to be followed and applied evenly to all individuals, so law is a field that I have always been naturally drawn to.”
“I believe this visit is especially important right now because it gives our students, and the larger community, a chance to see a government body doing its work.”
— Brad Gideon
Director of legal studies and prelaw advising
The 40-minute hearing and subsequent question-and-answer session drew about 1,000 Ball State and high school students from area districts as well as members of the university and local communities.
The hearing was particularly beneficial to students interested in the legal profession, said Brad Gideon, director of legal studies and prelaw advising in the political science department. For many students, Thursday also was a preview of classroom exercises.
“I believe this visit is especially important right now because it gives our students, and the larger community, a chance to see a government body doing its work,” he said. “It also can inspire a student to pursue a career in public service.”
The court usually hears about 70 cases at the Statehouse in Indianapolis every year. Justices occasionally schedule arguments elsewhere to let people around the state see how the court works. To date, court officials said they’ve done about 40 off-site hearings, like the one at Ball State.
Campus attracted the court’s visit due to the university’s reputation for hosting such events, including recent visits by the State Board of Education and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, said Sam Snideman, director of governmental relations at Ball State.
“We certainly are proponents of helping students experience government up close,” he said. “We think it is an important part of being an informed citizen to know how different parts of government function, and some of the best ways to learn are through experience and observation.
“So to the extent that we can, Ball State is doing its best to make our facilities available for these kinds of opportunities. In the end, our students get a chance to observe very important activities of their government, and government officials have a chance to engage in very real discussions with the citizens they serve.”