New lecture program honors memory of rising Elon student

The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Lecture Series will bring speakers to campus to help educate the Elon University community about healthy relationships and domestic violence.

Lauren Dunne Astley
By Shakori Fletcher ’16

A nonprofit organization named for an Elon University freshman killed in 2011 just weeks before starting college is funding a new lecture series to teach young people about healthy relationships and the prevention of domestic violence.

A gift from the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund, which was founded by Malcolm L. Astley and Mary K. Dunne, supports the inaugural events of the Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Lecture Series.

Faculty in Elon’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies program will coordinate the upcoming series in partnership with campus offices that include the Office of the Provost, the School of Communications, and the Gender & LGBTQIA Center.

“This gift will help to increase awareness, understanding and efforts toward building mutually effective relationships, an aim inherently connected to supporting a campus intellectual climate of mutual respect and responsibility,” said Associate Professor L. Kimberly Epting, coordinator of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexualities Studies program. “It is a resource for supporting efforts to provide the Elon community with timely and useful information at many levels that may help reduce the kind of interpersonal violence that led to Lauren’s tragic death.”

Lauren Astley would have been a member of the Class of 2015 before her ex-boyfriend murdered her on July 3, 2011. He was later convicted in a Massachusetts court and sentenced to life in prison.

The first programs take place during the upcoming Winter Term and Spring Semester with the theme of “Changing the Conversation: Tackling the New Frontier of Online Harassment.”

Arthur Chu (Winter Term speaker)
“Your Princess is in Another Castle: Harassment and Bullying in Gaming Culture and Digital Media”
January 11, 2016
Lakeside Meeting Rooms

5 p.m. 

A Jeopardy champion-turned-cultural critic and columnist, Arthur Chu provides a historical understanding of where harassing behavior comes from and why it seems “baked in” to digital communities. He illuminates the sexism and racism that fuel much of online bullying and often lead to real physical and emotional harm. He provides actionable strategies to encourage the best of online discourse and put a stop to the toxic kind.

Danielle Keats Citron (Spring Semester keynote speaker)
“Hate Crimes in Cyberspace: Charting a New Course for the 21st Century”
March 10, 2016
Whitley Auditorium

7:30 p.m. 

University of Maryland Professor of Law and author of the book “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace,” Danielle Citron provides a systematic account of online harassment, and the personal, economic, professional and social costs to its victims and society. Citron tackles the increasingly prevalent but often trivialized issues of cyber stalking and cyber bullying, helps us understand them and maps a course for how we can address them. With extensive experience in information privacy, cyber law and civil rights, Citron views online harassment as a civil rights issue, and outlines legal solutions for combatting it while upholding 1st Amendment protections. However, Citron believes that law alone can only do so much. Tackling online harassment requires a shift in societal attitudes from all of us – individuals, digital providers, parents and schools – to make the Internet a safe space for free expression.