Each delegate within this committee is assigned a specific congressperson in advance of the conference. Please take the time to research your congressperson and their positions related to the issues at hand. However, do not feel bound by their opinions. They can help guide your thoughts, but ultimately we want to hear your thoughts on these critical issues! Some of the best HMC moments occur when we treat the debates as if we were really responsible for coming up with policy solutions. Our goal for you walk away with more experience public speaking, debate and engaging with pertinent public policy issues. Please let us know along the way if there’s anything else we can be doing to help you reach these goals.
When the House Judiciary Committee meets in Hong Kong in January 2017, we will consider mental health courts and free speech at public universities. Mental health courts provide an alternate route through the criminal justice system for mentally ill defendants in some US states. This topic is not a simple one. Intertwined with the debate over the prevalence and funding of mental health courts are the debates over gun control and the mental health care system.
When considering the limits of free speech at public universities, you will specifically look at speech codes, which are policies limiting students and faculty members from using speech that would be protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution had they not been on campus. Delegates will think about the importance of finding a balance between productive conversation on university campuses and protection of harassment. Additionally, it will be important for delegates to be both mindful of the constitutionality of current limits of free speech on campuses and also aware of the dangers of having absolutely no speech regulation on campuses.
Keep in mind that, come January, you will be working collaboratively to write resolutions regarding these topics that will affect millions of Americans lives. We hope you come prepared with your own ideas, but remain open to compromises and ready to have your opinions challenged, or even changed. We can’t wait to meet you and see what you all come up with!
All the best,
Cass Hastie and Leni Hirsch
Chairs, House Judiciary
Each delegate will submit two one-minute speeches, one on each briefing topic. These speeches should written from the perspective of the delegate’s assigned role — for example, a delegate assigned the role of the United States should present arguments that the United States would be in favor of. The pre-conference assignments are due on December 30th and should be sent to your committee chairs by email (see below). Delegates should use this opportunity to research their role and become familiar with the topics at hand in order to prepare for the conference. Committee chairs will provide feedback on these assignments before the conference.