The Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series was created by Dr. Robert Hauhart, professor of criminal justice, Saint Martin's University, to raise awareness of social justice issues within the community and to honor the work of Dr. Harvie, former professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Saint Martin's. This annual series will include four speakers who will speak about a variety of issues that pertain to both local issues, here in Washington State, and across the nation. Admission to lecture series events is free and open to the public.

Upcoming lecture

Photo from Amá documentary


Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 from 6-8 p.m.
Norman Worthington Conference Center

Special guest speaker, Pam Kingfisher, is joining our community to show us the documentary Amá  and to lead us in thoughtful conversation. 
Amá is a feature length documentary which tells an important and untold story: the abuses committed against Native American women by the United States Government during the 1960’s and 70’s: removed from their families and sent to boarding schools, forced relocation away from their traditional lands and involuntary sterilization
Light refreshments will be served.

Past lectures

Benevolence: A Journey from Prison to Home

Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 5:30 p.m.

The Saint Martin's University Robert A Harvie Lecture Series presented a screening of Benevolence: A Journey from Prison to Home, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Joanne Hershfield. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 5:30 p.m. in the Worthington Conference Center on the Saint Martin's University Lacey campus.

Benevolence: A Journey from Prison to Home follows the journey of five women as they are released from prison and move onto Benevolence Farm in Alamance County, North Carolina. Joanne Hershfield is a researcher, filmmaker, and emeritus professor of women’s and gender studies. She has written about violence against women, developmental disabilities and Latinx race and ethnicity issues. The film delves into issues such as the impact of gender on incarceration and real-world issues that women uniquely face as they reenter society from prison environments.

Robbie Tolan, author of "No Justice"

No Justice

Friday, January 18, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

"No Justice" is the harrowing story of Robbie Tolan, who early on one New Year's Eve morning, found himself being rushed to the hospital. A white police officer had shot him in the chest after mistakenly accusing him of stealing his own car...while in his own driveway. In a journey that took nearly a decade, Tolan and his family saw his case go before the United States Supreme Court in a groundbreaking decision, while Tolan struggled with how to put his life back together. "No Justice" is the story about what happened after the media went away and Tolan’s story reminds us that police brutality is not a theoretical talking point in a larger nationwide argument.

Photo of Nate Boyer in Seattle Seahawks uniform, carrying the U.S. flag onto the field.

The Real MVP

Thursday, September 20, 2018, 7 p.m.

Nate Boyer, former Seattle Seahawk and Green Beret, discussed the influence behind Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel for the anthem. Boyer's non-profit, Merging Vets with Players (MVP), creates opportunities for veterans to work out with former NFL players and find commond ground to discuss the next steps in their lives. 

Photo of Jane Wong

A Poetics of Haunting

Friday, April 20, 2018, 4 p.m.
Cebula Hall, third floor

Poet Jane Wong, Ph.D., assistant professor of creative writing and literature at Western Washington University, presented a poetry reading entitled "A Poetics of Haunting." Wong read from her poems and provided commentary on her work and its connection to Asian-American experiences and history. Wong has created several projects around the concept of the “poetics of haunting,” including a digital project. 

A former U.S. Fulbright and Kundiman Fellow, Wong is the recipient of scholarships and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Hedgebrook. She is the recipient of The American Poetry Review's 2016 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize and a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the book "Overpour" (Action Books, 2016) and curator of the digital project The Poetics of Haunting in Asian American Poetry (

Photo of Alicia LeDuc and Paulina Hernandez

Alliance to Break the Silence and Impunity

Friday, November 17, 2017, 4 p.m.

Paulina Hernandez ‘09 and Alicia LeDuc ‘09 delivered a presentation about their experience of interviewing plaintiffs, attorneys, and members of the Alliance to Break the Silence and Impunity involved in litigating the precedent-setting 2016 Sepur Zarco case in Guatemala, in support of a law review article about the case. The case marked the first time a national court prosecuted sexual slavery as a crime against humanity, and was the first instance of Guatemalan courts prosecuting sexual violence relating to the country’s Internal Armed Conflict period. This presentation provided an overview of the case history, details on the Alliance members and their comprehensive impact litigation strategy, a discussion of evidentiary and procedural aspects of the case, and a short comparison of the U.S. and Guatemalan court systems. 

Photo of Aneelah Afzali

Presentation with Aneelah Afzali

Friday, September 22, 2017, 4 p.m.

Aneelah Afzali, executive director of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound-American Muslim Empowerment Network (MAPS-AMEN), presented a lecture and workshop. Afzali’s presentation, “Combating Islamophobia,” explored several topics, including why hate crimes against Muslims in America are at an all-time high in the U.S.; why anti-Muslim proposals and vitriolic rhetoric have reached unprecedented levels; and how all the hate against Muslims arose. Afzali discussed how to take concrete action steps to combat Islamophobia and promote our shared American values of religious freedom and diversity.

Photo of Reginald Dwayne Betts

Poetry reading with Reginald Dwayne Betts

Tuesday, April 24, 2017, 4 p.m.

Reginald Dwayne Betts, winner of the PEN New England Award for his volume of poems entitled “Bastards of the Reagan Era,” shared selections from his works and led a discussion on prison reform, juvenile justice and related issues.

Sad/Happiness: Cinthya's Cross Border Journey

Sad/Happiness: Cinthya's Cross Border Journey

Friday, February 24, 2017, 4 p.m.

In this film shot across Oregon and Mexico, eleven-year-old Cinthya narrates the collective story of one extended Zapotec family and the differential rights of U.S. citizen children and their undocumented parents. The story illuminates the struggles of millions of families divided between the United States and other countries where children are mobile citizens and parents cannot leave.

Homeless in downtown Olympia

Olympia's Homeless: Establishing a service and care model for the poor and vulnerable

Monday, November 14, 2016

Featuring Medrice Coluccio, the chief executive of Providence Health & Services, and Michelle James, the VP of operations at Providence, this presentation illumined the state of our local community and the impact of homelessness across our region, while outlining steps of reaching out and saving those in most need.

An endangered Checkerspot Butterfly


Featuring Mary Linders, Endangered Species Recovery Biologist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Dr. Kelli Bush from Evergreen State College

Friday, September 23, 2016

This Harvie Lecture event featured a discussion on the Sustainability in Prison Project and its program to save the endangered Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly with the aid of inmates from Washington Department of Corrections facilities.

Shanta, the story of women's education

Drawing the Tiger

Featuring Amy Benson, award-winning filmmaker

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Filmed over seven years, “Drawing the Tiger” presents an intimate portrait of a Nepali family struggling to survive after they lose their only educated child—a determined scholarship recipient—to suicide. At first, the nonprofit-sponsored documentary set out to tell the story of a developing women's education culture in Nepal—until the star of the documentary committed suicide the year before graduation. Afterward, the film took a drastic shift in direction.

Starcia Ague and Sarah Lippek

Policing for Justice and Ending Over-Incarceration

Ideas on Policing for Justice and Ending Over-Incarceration

November 18, 2015

Many police nationwide have adopted "zero tolerance" policing and roused concern from the public due to racially biased "stop and frisk" practices.  Likewise, our nation's prisons are filled with a disproportionate percentage of people of color. Join our speakers as they consider these issues from a social justice perspective.

Starcia Ague is a youth and family advocate program administrator with the Department of Social and Health Services at the Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation Administration.
Sarah Lippek is an attorney with The Public Advocate, where she is a general practitioner with particular interests in immigration and other civil rights.

God in Captivity: Punishment and Redemption in America's Faith-Based Prisons

September 25, 2015

Based on her forthcoming book from Harvard University Press, Professor Erzen addresses questions that arise when considering contemporary, faith-based prison programs that operate under the logic that religious conversion and redemption will transform prisoners into new human beings.


Necropolitics of the European Border in Terraferma

March 30, 2015

Almost weekly, hundreds of people perish in the Mediterranean, that most porous of European borders, while trying to cross into the European Union (EU). While internal European borders have been abolished, both visible and invisible walls have been erected to protect the external border against prospective migrants.

“Following Achille Mbembe, I call this policy the necropolitics of the border: the discourses and practices which legitimize a violent, often deadly, enclosure of Europe against any variety of “illegal” migrant, including refugees and asylum seekers. Necropolitics operates in borderline, extra-legal spaces of exception, such as the Mediterranean sea itself and outlying European islands, where the authorities engage in surveillance, segregation, imprisonment, and physical abuse of the migrants. Recent films and literature have criticized such a border regime, envisioning alternative practices of hospitality to migrants.

This lecture will focus on Emanuele Crialese’s 2011 film, Terraferma, set on a remote Italian island where geographic as well as symbolic boundaries between Europe and non-Europe blur, making it increasingly difficult to segregate citizens from migrants. Questioning the official EU border policy, the film explores the islanders’ "illegal" offers of hospitality to foreigners based on the so-called "law of the sea." Cultural narratives such as Terraferma can help us interrogate the discourses of protecting European borders – and identity – against "invading" others.”

—Nataša Kovačević