Group honors associate dean, Cooley Law with leadership award

Cooley Law School and Joan Vestrand, associate dean of Cooley's Ann Arbor campus, were recently presented with the Eastern Leaders Group's (ELG) 2013 Leadership Award for establishing a student court at Ypsilanti Community High School (YCHS). Cooley Law students manage and preside over the court of the wrongdoer's peers in determining appropriate action following behavior in violation of the school's code of conduct.

The goals of the program include teaching youth about the court process, giving students a stake in their own high school environment, and involving youth in creating positive and restorative outcomes, while correcting unacceptable behavior.

Vestrand designed the court, and this year it will include a peacemaking component to mirror changes to the Washtenaw County courts. A recent grant awarded to Washtenaw County will allow the courts to launch the nation's second peacemaking pilot. Peacemaking is a Native American form of restorative justice that, instead of punishment, involves the wrongdoer in the solution by repairing relationships harmed by his/her actions.

Vestrand is a member of the ELG Executive Committee, a partnership between Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw County and certain nonprofit, civic, education and private sector leaders in the Ypsilanti area. The mission of the ELG is to meet the immediate and long-term economic and quality-of-life needs of eastern Washtenaw County. Since 2008, ELG has assisted 87 companies with space, capital and business services, leveraged more than $4.5 million in federal, state, and private funding, helped to create or retain more than 600 jobs, and assisted 14 commercial building owners to renovate and rent spaces.

Published: Thu, Jan 30, 2014


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