2015-2016 Athenian Society Dean’s Speaker Series
Balancing Act: Civil Liberties vs. National Security
Adjunct Professor, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy
Director, Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies, USC Safe Communities Institute
Dr. Erroll G. Southers is the Director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies for the Safe Communities Institute at the USC Price School of Public Policy. He previously served as Director of Transition and Research Deployment at the Department of Homeland Security National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). He was President Barack Obama’s first nominee for Transportation Security Administration Assistant Secretary, and he was also California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Deputy Director for Critical Infrastructure of the California Office of Homeland Security.
Dr. Southers’ career has spanned all levels of law enforcement, formerly serving as Assistant Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence at the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department. He also previously enjoyed the distinction of FBI Special Agent and SWAT team member, as well as Santa Monica Police Officer. Currently, Dr. Southers holds roles throughout the international counterterrorism and national security arena, including: Visiting Fellow and member of the Professional Advisory Board of the International Institute of Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel; a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Homeland Security Project; a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs; and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA) at Rutgers University. He is also the Managing Director of the Counter-Terrorism and Infrastructure Protection Division for TAL Global Corporation, an international security consulting firm.
Dr. Southers has testified before the full Congressional Committee on Homeland Security as a subject matter expert and counterterrorism analyst. At USC, he developed the Executive Program in Counterterrorism. He is a regular contributor to national and international media networks on matters of terrorism and national security, and the author of Homegrown Violent Extremism.
Joseph J. Levin, Jr.
Co-Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center
Joseph Levin co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971. As legal director from 1971 to 1976, Levin worked on more than 50 major civil rights cases. He argued the landmark sex discrimination case Frontiero vs. Richardson, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law giving preferences to men in the military. In 1976, Levin joined the Carter administration, supervising the Justice Department’s transition team before serving as special assistant to the attorney general and then as chief counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 1979, he entered private practice in Washington, D.C., but continued his association with the SPLC by serving as its board chairman until 2003. Levin was also president of the SPLC from 1996 to 2003, when he became general counsel. He served as a board member from 1971 until 2009.
Sheriff, Los Angeles County
Sheriff Jim McDonnell was sworn in as the 32nd Sheriff of Los Angeles County on December 1, 2014. Sheriff McDonnell is a Boston native. He began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a twenty-two-year-old graduate from the Los Angeles Police Academy. He has served for 29 years at the Los Angeles Police Department where he has held every rank from Police Officer to second-in-command. For five years, he served as the Chief of the Long Beach Police Department. From his first day on the job at LASD, Sheriff McDonnell has stressed the importance of treating all members of our community with respect, being transparent with and accountable to the individuals that the LASD serves, and creating an environment that recognizes and rewards character, competence and compassion. He is committed to ensuring that safe neighborhoods enable all residents and businesses in Los Angeles’ diverse County to thrive.
Patrick R. Fitzgerald
First Assistant United States Attorney, Central District of California
Patrick R. Fitzgerald is a career federal prosecutor who currently is the First Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California, which is the largest district in the nation with approximately 19 million residents. From 2009 to 2015, Patrick was Chief of the National Security Section in the United States Attorney’s Office. He has prosecuted a wide-range of cases related to terrorism and other national-security matters, including a plot by members of the Jewish Defense League to bomb a mosque and Congressman’s Office, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai India in 2008, the treason case against the late al-Qaida spokesperson Adam Gadahn, the shooting of a TSA official at Los Angeles International Airport in 2013, and the cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014. In 2012, Patrick received a Director of National Intelligence Award for his work as part of team that disrupted a Major Threat List country’s nuclear procurement network. He has been a Lecturer at the USC Gould School of Law, where he has taught Evidence. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the UCLA School of Law.