An open, honest discussion on homeland security

By Kyle Hobstetter on February 16, 2019

The Badolato Speaker Series welcomes human rights activist Qasim Rashid to TU to discuss Homeland Security’s role in protecting human rights

Qasim Rashid

Each year, Towson University brings to campus some of the most distinguished leaders in the Homeland Security field as part of the Badolato Speaker Series.

This year’s series, “Human Rights & Homeland Security,” will take place on Thursday, February 21, at 4 p.m. at the College of Liberal Arts Building, room 4110. The guest speaker is writer, attorney and Truman National Security Fellow Qasim Rashid.

The Badolato Speaker Series is a partnership between TU’s Division of Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research and the Integrated Homeland Security Management master’s program.

Since beginning in 2004, the Badolato Speaker Series has provided insight in the world of homeland security. And according to Joseph Clark, program director of the Integrated Homeland Security Management master’s degree program, it has provided extra insight into the profession for TU students. 

“[The Speaker Series] allows us to reach out and provide education opportunities not only to the general student body, but also to our homeland security students,” Clark says. “I try to tailor what we talk about to real-world events and opportunities that affect their potential employment futures.”

Register to attend this year's Badolato Speaker Series 

This year’s speaker series focuses on how homeland security affects the human rights of U.S. citizens.

The discussion will touch on how homeland security is about protecting individuals from threats to their physical, political and personal well-being. Yet each day, thousands of people in the United States—because of the color of their skin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion—suffer violations to such.

Clark, who will serve as moderator for the program, is excited to be visiting this topic because the fundamental protection of human rights is one of the main reasons he wanted to get into the homeland security education field. 

“It’s not just about physical security, but also political security and ideational security… meaning you have to be safe in your own person,” Clark says. “These are all things that are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.

“So homeland security should be understanding what are the types of threats, where do they come from, and how to ameliorate them.” 

And while Clark understands that this conversation is timely, he thinks that talking about human rights and homeland security should happen perennially. 

He compared it to weeding a garden, meaning something you do constantly. 

“The only way we move forward is to face issues of our past and our present honestly and openly,” Clark says. “It’s a fundamental question of who we want to be as individuals, as a society and as Americans.”

And while Clark is excited for the message, he’s more excited to partner with Rashid, who is also a practicing attorney, human rights activist and a former visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Islamic Studies Program.

He has been regularly published in TIME, The Independent, and The Washington Post. His work also has appeared in Politico, NBC, USA Today, The Daily Beast, NPR and various other outlets. 

During the program, Rashid will discuss how to expose, come to terms with and rectify the critical threat to homeland security in order to truly become a more perfect union.

Clark also hopes to touch on how Rashid deals with the issues of talking about this subject in the time of social media.

“I think it’s remarkable opportunity to have him here as an intellect,” Clark says. “But it’s a remarkable opportunity to have him here as sort of a role model for what we want our students to aspire to be in terms of thoughtfulness, patience and willingness to do the hard work. 

“I’m just floored that he was willing to come,” Clark adds.

The Badolato Speaker Series will feature a discussion at 4 p.m., followed by a reception at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the TU community and the public, though it is asked that attendees RSVP beforehand

With the series being open to more than just Homeland Security students, Clark is hoping that this can start a broader dialogue across both the campus and the surrounding area.

“We don’t get to where we want to be without having these conversation, even though they are painful,” Clark adds. “Part of the mission of any university, especially Towson University, is furthering academic discourse in an honest and open way.” 

The Badolato Distinguished Speaker Series is endowed by the late Colonel Edward V. Badolato, USMC (Ret.). Col. Badolato graduated from Towson University and served under former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy, specializing in counter-terrorism and emergency planning.

Col. Badolato was an internationally recognized expert in the field of energy and environmental operations, contingency planning, and emergency response. He was also a retired Marine Corps Colonel with three combat tours in Vietnam.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.