Landmark Roe v. Wade Decision is Topic for MAYDAY! Peace Conference

Posted on April 17th, 2013 by

PrintRoe v. Wade, perhaps the most identifiable and debated Supreme Court decision in our country’s history, will be at the center of discussion at Gustavus Adolphus College’s 33rd annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference on Thursday, May 2. All events are free and open to the public.

This year’s conference will depart from the traditional morning and afternoon keynote address format, and will instead feature 21 different and concurrent 20-minute “Teaching Units” that will focus on a variety of topics related to the Roe v. Wade decision.

The conference will start as it usually does in Christ Chapel at 10 a.m., where Chaplain Sabina Koij and Professor Pamela Kittelson will offer opening remarks. Conference attendees will then be led to different classrooms in nearby Beck Academic Hall, where they will remain for three rounds of teaching units. Teaching unit leaders will give a 12-15 minute presentation about a certain aspect of the Roe v. Wade decision, and then there will be time for a question and answer period. Conference attendees will remain in the same room for all three teaching units, while the teaching unit leaders will rotate to different classrooms.

Examples of the various teaching units include the following:

  • The Decision Explained
  • Religion and Politics: 1973 / 2013
  • Medical Technology and Roe v. Wade
  • Peace Studies Perspectives
  • Ethics of Decision Making
  • Current Legal State of Roe v. Wade
  • Abortion and Class
  • Art and Roe v. Wade
  • International Perspectives

Following a 45-minute lunch break, there will be three concurrent panel discussions related to the Roe v. Wade decision. Unlike the teaching unit sessions, conference attendees can choose which of the three panel discussions to attend. Those panel discussions include:

  • “Ethical and Religious Issues” in Alumni Hall
  • “Legal and Medical Issues” in Christ Chapel
  • “Historical and Social Issues” in the Heritage Banquet Room

The final round of the annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference Oratory Contest for high school students will close out the conference at 3 p.m. in Alumni Hall. This year’s competitors will be vying for a $750 first prize and will consider the question, “Forty years after the Roe v. Wade decision, how does it influence American society?”

The full schedule for the day is as follows:

  • 10 a.m. / Conference Opening & Welcoming Ceremony / Christ Chapel
  • 10:45-11:05 a.m. / First Round of Teaching Units / Beck Academic Hall
  • 11:15-11:35 a.m. / Second Round of Teaching Units / Beck Academic Hall
  • 11:45 a.m.-12:05 p.m. / Third Round of Teaching Units / Beck Academic Hall
  • 12:15-1 p.m. / Lunch Break / Market Place, Jackson Campus Center
  • 1:15-2:45 p.m. / Concurrent Panel Discussions / Alumni Hall, Christ Chapel, Heritage Banquet Room
  • 3-4 p.m. / Final Round of the MAYDAY! Oratory Contest / Alumni Hall

The annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference was founded at Gustavus in 1981 by Florence and the late Raymond Sponberg of North Mankato, Minn., and is designed to educate the campus community about issues related to peace, human rights, and social justice. The conference occurs every year on the last Wednesday in April or the first Wednesday in May. Previous conference themes have focused on land rights, violence in community, hunger, the banning of landmines, food security, global water issues, and political policies relating to peace issues.

For questions or more information about this year’s conference, contact the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520 or


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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