The University of Chicago News Office
July 1, 1997 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

Free Saturday Seminar Series Lets Chicagoans Wrestle with Issues of Privacy, Policy and Power

The fictional town of Unity is faced with a dilemma. As a result of an unfortunate set of circumstances, Sam, 19, is charged with and convicted of having intimate relations with a minor. After serving his sentence, Sam returns homeonly to discover the town has instituted a program that publicly identifies all convicted sex offenders. Do the townspeople have the right to this information?

In “Privacy and Security on the Eve of the Millennium,” one of four free Saturday seminars on government hosted by the University of Chicago’s Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults, issues like the one above will be wrangled over by Chicagoans. How much power should governments should have over the lives of their citizens? Is Megans Law fair? How about other privacy issues like the dissemination of personal information in databases? Should the government hold an encryption key?

Each three-hour seminar of the series, which begins Saturday, July 12, will start with a discussion of selections from the Federalist Papers that participants will have read in advance. Afterwards, participants will view one of four PBS episodes on “Liberty & Limits: The Federalist Idea 200 Years Later.” and then discuss issues raised by the episode in the context of the Federalist Papers selection. All sessions are moderated by staff members from the Basic Program and the Chicago Area Great Books Council. The series will be held at 10 a.m. each Saturday and repeated at 2 p.m. that same day. The schedule is as follows:

  • 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 12 “Constant Combatants: The President and the Congress,” which details the power stuggles between the Executive and Legislative Branches of government;
  • 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 26 “Whose Law, Whose Order,” which takes up the issues of states’ rights;
  • 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 “Privacy and Security on the Eve of the Millennium";
  • 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 “The Price of Politics: Electing Our Leaders,” which wrestles with the role of “special interests.”

The four seminars will be held at the University of Chicago’s Graham School of General Studies in the Gleacher Center, 450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive. The seminars are free, but registration is required. To register and obtain the reading assignments, call (773) 702-1722 or email
Last modified at 11:27 AM CST on Friday, September 12, 2003.

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