Law student runs for human rights: IU Law - Indianapolis organization recipient of 3L's fundraising efforts

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The International Human Rights Law Society at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis will have more money to work with now than its $375 budget from the beginning of the school year, thanks to the organization's vice president.

The IHRLS is the student group that has researched, written, and presented shadow reports to experts for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Funds for the organization bring international human rights experts to speak at the school, present movie nights that are related to international human rights issues, and also help cover the students' expenses for completing the reports and for travel to the U.N.

Indiana Lawyer wrote about the 2007 trip in the April 4-17, 2007, issue, and the 2008 trip was covered in the April 30-May 13, 2008, issue.

Adam Dolce, a third-year law student and the organization's vice president who is working on a team that will write a shadow report about Australia's government, was already planning to run the Indianapolis Marathon Oct. 18.

He started training for the race in February. But when he learned at the beginning of the 2008-09 school year that due to cuts in the budget to the Student Bar Association, the budget for IHRLS was down from the 2007-08 budget of $1,500 to $375, he decided he would ask for pledges for his marathon run to at least match the $375.

At first he wasn't sure what reaction to expect from other board members, but was pleased when they said, "You know, that's actually a good idea," he said.

"I was doing my own run, not asking them to run with me, and would be raising money for the organization," he said.

To get to the race, he faced a few challenges, including a car accident after a sport utility vehicle hit him when he was riding his bike on a sidewalk. He was riding to protest high gas prices. The injury was bad enough that he couldn't train for three weeks, which meant he had to restart.

Dolce asked for suggested pledges ranging from 10 cents to $1 per mile he completed in the 26.2-mile race. He also suggested $5 pledges if he finished in 3 hours 10 minutes, the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon; and there was a spot on his pledge form to pledge $10 in case he died during the marathon.

But he didn't die, and he didn't quite make the Boston qualifying time as his girlfriend and family members cheered him on. He finished the race in about 3 hours 45 minutes, according to the results page for the Web site of the marathon, finishing in 315th place out of 1,127 runners.

According to the time he kept, Dolce said he finished in 3 hours and 43 or 44 minutes.

Based on the pledges he received after contacting friends, family, and coworkers in the Indiana Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division, and their networks, he expected to meet his fundraising goal.

With the money, he hopes the International Justice Mission will be able to send a speaker. That organization is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression, and asks for a donation of $500 to $1,000 for speakers. When speakers come, the IHRLS likes to host receptions for them.
Click here to view the pledge form. Others who are involved with the organization said they appreciate Dolce's work.

"The money raised by Adam in this fundraising effort will go a long way," said Emina Hadzic, IHRLS president for the 2008-09 school year. "IHRLS has a lot of ideas and plans for this school year, most of which would be unachievable without some outside financial help, unfortunately. Since his appointment to the position of vice president in August, Adam has been a great asset to our society. We thank him for his contributions to IHRLS and for his continuing promotion of human rights."

"Adam's human rights run shows the boundless energy, joy, conviction, enthusiasm, passion, and mission of our law students to achieve goals higher than themselves and as sacred as life itself," added Perfecto "Boyet" Caparas, program manager for the Program in International Human Rights Law.

Caparas said that while Dolce's run may seem like a small task, it will help the organization achieve more of its goals, which can make a bigger impact.

"Adam's human rights run constitutes a clarion call to democratize, make fully transparent and accountable our own internal and budgetary decision-making processes at the PIHRL," he said. "The goal is to empower our law students to become international human rights lawyers, scholars, and advocates to sincerely serve the pristine cause of human rights. ... Adam's human rights run mirrors an inner striving on the part of this young man and others to become relevant and make a difference. It's idealism at its best."

As a third year, Dolce said his involvement will hopefully help him get into a job in human rights, something he said, from what he understands, is difficult to break into. The reason he decided to go to law school was to get more involved in helping to stop human trafficking and he hopes to do something with the cause.

However, organizations like "IJM prefer lawyers from the countries they work with," he said. Dolce is from New York and landed in Indiana to attend Taylor University. He also works part-time for the Indiana Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division.

Those who wish to donate can write checks to IHRLS. To make a donation or for more information, contact Dolce via email at, phone (765) 618-8907, or mail checks written to "International Human Rights Law Society" or "IHRLS" to Dolce at 12824 Hanley Dr., Fishers, IN 46037. •  

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  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

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