Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project

Studying environmental justice and indigenous rights in the Pacific Northwest, Fall 2016.

Who We Are and What We Do

In 2008, with an initial $100,000 gift from alumnus Joseph Loundy, Roosevelt University established the Joseph Loundy Human Rights Project. This program is unique in the US and gives students the opportunity to

  • conduct comparative research on human rights in the US and abroad
  • generate strategies to promote human rights and social justice in Chicago
  • engage in seminars with national and local leaders
  • discover first hand the human rights challenges in Chicago
  • travel abroad to experience the way others are meeting these human rights challenges elsewhere
  • gain experience through summer internships
  • create a track record of publication
  • effect change in their local community

We also partner with other campus and community organizations to provide human-rights related programming to the larger Roosevelt community and the public.

What Students Get

  • On average, more than half of students completing the Loundy Project’s comparative course intend to attend graduate school or law school (compared with a third on average at the outset of the course)
  • A quarter of our students travel outside the US for the first time with the Project
  • More than half our students began a human rights related internship during (or within the first six months) of being enrolled in the Loundy Human Rights Project’s signature course
  • A third of our alums go on to graduate school or law school (significantly higher than the Roosevelt average)

What Students Say

“I truly learned more in this class than I ever have from any of my previous classes. I went from knowing basically nothing about drug policy to being able to compile an entire report on the details of American drug policy complete with comprehensive policy recommendations. Our trip to Amsterdam was my first time out of the country, and I will never forget it!”

“Being a very ‘hands-on’ person, I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to have site visits locally and internationally; gaining personal experiences and insights on a specific topic I didn’t know much about previously.”

“Not only has Urban Human Rights been beneficial to my overall knowledge and depth of understanding of a host of issues, this class, through our comparative research, has granted me the ability to make an honest re-assessment of many views that are held to be true by policy-makers, and the American general public including myself. In addition, the hands-on curriculum that Dr. Barratt has provided through this course has been both an eye-opening and transformational experience that I will not soon forget.”

How to be Part of It

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View the next offering of the Loundy Human Rights Project’s Comparative Human Rights class in the RUClass Schedule. Urban Human Rights is offered every Fall. In some years, it is offered as an Honors course. If you are not currently an honors student and are interested in taking the course, consider seeking admittance to the Honors Program.

Human Rights Challenges We Study:


  • Human Rights of Older Persons
    • This project is a joint research initiative with the John Marshall International Human Rights Legal Clinic. Roosevelt students take part in international law classes at John Marshall, and participate in joint research projects on the efficacy of international law to protect human rights of older persons. Students have the opportunity to attend related meetings at the United Nations.
  • Miscarriages of Justice and Wrongful Convictions
    • Local Sites
      • Chicago Innocence Project
      • Area 2 Headquarters
    • Local Community Partners
      • Northwestern University School of Law
      • Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions
      • Chicago Innocence Project
      • People’s Law Office
    • Speaker Series
      • Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, memory expert, UC Irvine
      • Rob Warden, pioneering investigative reporter, Northwestern Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions
      • Dr. Jay Koehler, forensic expert, Northwestern Law School
      • Dr. Steve Drizin, forensic expert, Northwestern Law School
      • Randy Steidl, wrongly convicted individual and social justice reform advocate
      • Delbert Tibbs, wrongly convicted individual and social justice reform advocate
      • John Conroy, groundbreaking investigative reporter and author
      • Joey Mogul, People’s Law Office partner
      • Darrell Cannon, Chicago police torture survivor
      • Dr. Josh Tepfer, Northwestern Law School’s Center on the Wrongful Conviction of Youth
      • Dr. Geoff Loftus, memory expert, University of Washington
      • Dr. Richard Leo, forensic psychologist, University of San Francisco
      • Dr.Karen Daniels, Director, Northwestern Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions
      • Nicole Harris, exoneree
      • Dr. David Harris, University of Pittsburgh
      • Penny Beerntsen, eyewitness misidentification expert
      • Robert Milan, former prosecutor
    • Research Trip: London
  • Drug Policy and Harm Reduction
    • Local Sites
      • Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy
      • Springfield State House
    • Local Community Partners
    • Speaker Series
      • Ed Stellon, Director of Resource and Community Development for Heartland Health Outreach’s (HHO) Mental Health and Addiction Services
      • James Geirach, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
      • Ed Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois of the ACLU
      • Kathie Kane-Willis, interim director of Roosevelt’s Institute for Metropolitan Affairs and Director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy
    • Research Trip: Amsterdam
  • Police Misconduct
    • Local Sites
      • Area 2 Headquarters
      • Chicago Innocence Project
    • Local Community Partners
      • Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation
      • Amnesty International Midwest
      • People’s Law Office
      • Career Passport
    • Speaker Series
      • Nancy Bothne, Former Amnesty International Regional Director
      • Sharon Sionov, Israeli human rights lawyer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
      • Kitty Williams, career counselor, Career Passport, with panel of previously incarcerated women
      • John Conroy, reporter and author
      • Flint Taylor, People’s Law Office
      • Joey Mogul, Peoples Law Office
      • Darrell Cannon, police torture survivor.
    • Research Trip: London

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