May 26, 2011
During Class Day exercises on May 25, Sarah Min ’11 received the inaugural William J. Stuntz Memorial Award for Justice, Human Dignity and Compassion, which recognizes a graduating student who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to these principles while at Harvard Law School.
The award was created this year in honor of the late William Stuntz, a renowned scholar of criminal justice at Harvard Law School, an evangelical Christian and a teacher much beloved by students and colleagues. Dean Martha Minow presented the award to Min, noting that her nominators had described her as “one of the most compassionate people they’ve ever known.”
At HLS, Min was involved in Christian Fellowship, the Harvard Human Rights Journal, Advocates for Human Rights, Advocates for Education, the Harvard Immigration Project and the Public Interest Auction. She also participated in the Child Advocacy Clinic and the Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinic.
Outside of HLS, she conducted research on child sexual exploitation in the U.S. and drafted sex tourism legislation for Agape International Missions, an organization that targets child sex-trafficking. During the summer of 2009 and the winter of 2010, Min designed and implemented an alternative criminal justice program in two Burmese refugee camps in Thailand through the International Rescue Committee Legal Assistance Centre. Last summer, through the Education Law Center in Pennsylvania, she focused on the education rights of students with disabilities and on school transparency, compiling data on discriminatory school policies and on alternative education programs. Min is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
Stuntz, who died March 15 at age 52 after a long battle with cancer, joined the HLS faculty in 2000. His influential scholarship over the past three decades addressed the full spectrum of issues related to criminal justice and procedure, from the overcrowding of prisons and racial disparities in incarceration to the appropriate role of faith, emotion and mercy in the penal system. He authored three-dozen law review articles and essays on criminal law, and published articles and op-eds in the New York Times, Christianity Today, First Things, The New Republic and The Weekly Standard. This fall, Harvard University Press will publish a book he authored on the collapse of the criminal justice system.
Celebrated for his unusual ability to appeal to a wide variety of legal scholars and others of all political and methodological perspectives, Stuntz was generous with his time and guidance to colleagues and students. In 2004, he was the recipient of the HLS Sacks-Freund Teaching Award, given by the graduating class to honor a professor for contributions to teaching.
The William J. Stuntz Award will be given annually at Commencement. The recipient will be chosen based on nominations by students, faculty and staff. In announcing the establishment of the award earlier this Spring, Dean Minow said: “In honoring Bill’s spirit and work, this award will serve as a beacon to the many future Harvard Law students whose personal and professional goals transcend any ordinary notion of lawyering.”