The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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‘Orange is the New Black’ author visits SMU for criminal justice lecture

Piper Kerman challenged students to address the issues she saw firsthand in the justice system. Photo credit: SMU Twitter

*Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version.

Students who went to McFarlin auditorium Tuesday hoping to see a sneak peak of season 5 instead got a preview of a life behind bars.

Author of the New York Times best seller ‘Orange is the New Black’, Piper Kerman, visited SMU to speak on her time in jail and the criminal justice system.


maguire pic.jpg
The Maguire Center and Delta Gamma have partnered since 1996. Photo credit: Meghan Klein

The main floor of the 1,222-seat auditorium was almost completely filled when Kerman began speaking, and many stayed afterwards to ask questions and have her sign their book.

“A lot of people came because they know about Orange is the New Black but I think it actually did affect a lot of people,” said audience member Zhouo Zhao.

The best seller was adapted in 2013 to a Netflix original series that is about to air its 5th season. Kerman says it still embodies the original themes of her writing.

“If the result of the show is more young people, all people but especially young people, thinking more about questions around prison and punishment and the society we want to have and the place we want to be, I would be more than delighted.”

The lecture was put on by the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility in partnership with the Delta Gamma sorority at SMU.

“The Delta Gamma Lectureship is an endowed lectureship established to foster conversations of ethics and values in every day life…” said Assistant Director of the Maguire Center, Candy Crespo. “It’s a good partnership because the goal of their lecture is directly tied to our mission.”

Kerman spoke about her time in prison for 15 months and how the experience made her realize that every one of our actions has a consequence that will come back to us one way or another.

Kerman wasn’t just talking about herself, but also the consequences of ignoring the problems within the current criminal justice system.

“A system that prioritizes one persons safety and freedom over that of another cannot be called a justice system,” said Kerman.

SMU junior and Delta Gamma Director of Foundation Events, Avery Dauphinais, says she hopes that audience members were able to walk away from tonight with a new perspective.

“I want people to hear her message and hopefully it inspires people and makes them glad they came,” said Dauphinais.

Kerman’s goal for the lecture and for writing the book in the first place was to get people to care about the welfare of people in jail as much as she did.

“This wasn’t just a book about prison. This book was about women,” said Kerman.

*Disclaimer: Meghan Klein is a contributor for The Daily Campus.


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