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University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Legal Studies


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Welcome to Legal Studies

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Stephen Arons, Professor

Department of Legal Studies
120 Gordon Hall, UMass/Amherst
Phone:  413-545-3536 / Fax: 413-545-1640


Photo by Ben Arons.(c)2008 Nebosphere,LLC  

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Stephen Arons is Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst . He received his B.A. in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania and his J.D. from Harvard. He has written extensively in professional and popular journals, and was for a time Contributing Editor at the Saturday Review. His fields of expertise include the constitutional dimensions of public education policy, an area in which he has written numerous articles and two books, Compelling Belief: the Culture of American Schooling (Univ. of Mass. Press, 1986), an exploration of individual and cultural freedom in education; and Short Route to Chaos: Conscience, Community, and the Re-Constitution of American Schooling a critique of standardized schooling (1997). Professor Arons has worked for over twenty-five years in the field of mental health policy and individual rights, and is co-author (with Herr and Wallace) of Legal Rights and Mental Health Care (1983). He was one of the founders and was for twenty years President of the Board of the Center for Public Representation, a non-profit public interest law firm that specializes in disability law.

Arons has also done considerable personal and professional work in the struggle for racial justice, dating back to the mid-60's. He is currently coordinator with Jerrold Levinsky of the Legal Studies/Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination Joint Clinical Project , which provides three courses and a full-time, full-semester clinical placement for undergraduates training in the analysis and enforcement of civil rights law. Professor Arons is also currently engaged in a research and writing project that deals with the legal and constitutional dimensions of end-of-life care issues such as advance directives, the right to refuse treatment, pain management and physician-assisted suicide. His article, "Current Legal Issues in End of Life Care," appears in Living With Dying: A Handbook for End-of-Life Healthcare Practitioners (Berzoff & Silverman, eds. Columbia University Press, 2004).

Arons' regular teaching has included Introduction to Legal Studies, Law and Culture in America , Law and Public Policy, Law and Conscience, the use of literature to teach law and ethics, and a senior integrative seminar for students who have completed their clinical placements in the LS/MCAD Project. Arons has done numerous seminars for professionals such as judges and healthcare professionals. He is a member of the faculty of the University's Ph.D. program in American Studies , a contributing faculty member of the End-of-Life Doctoral Certificate program (formerly at Smith College School for Social Work), a member of the Core Faculty of the Brandeis International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life , a certified mediator and a member of the Massachusetts and Federal District Court Bars.


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The Department of Legal Studies is part of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

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