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Monday, October 12 • 10:20am - 11:35am
Constitutional Risk: Identification, Reduction, & Management

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Constitutional risk is the possibility that a public institution will face a high profile constitutional challenge to its policies. These constitutional suits can be enormously expensive to defend, cause substantial harm to an institution’s reputation, and, if the institution loses, result in liability for attorneys’ fees. In short, a constitutional suit can be far more damaging than ordinary negligence cases or employment litigation. Yet, public institutions rarely think about identifying, minimizing or managing constitutional risk. Risk managers know all about dangerous sidewalks but do not know how, if at all, the institution uses race in admissions. Risk managers interact and scrutinize facilities use policies but do not interact with campus lawyers about policies on free speech or gun rights. Risk managers insist on extensive public safety training but do not insist that administrators understand the nuances of religious freedom. This presentation attempts to close that gap.

The presentation has two parts. The first part, a lecture, will introduce the concept of constitutional risk and briefly discuss how to identify, minimize and manage constitutional risk. The second part will include a panel discussion involving a risk manager, a representative from an insurance company and a representative from an advocacy group that brings constitutional challenges and will expand on the identification, minimize, and management of constitutional risk.

Participants in the constitutional risk program will learn the following:
 Definition of constitutional risk and how to identify those policies that are subject to constitutional attack, how to minimize constitutional risk by altering policy and how to engage in educational programs as well as undertaking a dialogue with advocacy groups and how to manage constitutional risk when the institution is sued on a constitutional claim.
 Management of constitutional risk includes retaining counsel, when to settle, the utilization of a public relations strategy, and special concerns related to existential issues (those that the institution can never compromise).

Speakers
avatar for Jay Blanton

Jay Blanton

Executive Director for Public Relations and Marketing, University of Kentucky
Jay Blanton is executive director for public relations and marketing at the University of Kentucky. Previously, he served as communications director for Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and as deputy communications director for former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. He also has worked in the private sector for the Keeneland Association, a thoroughbred racing and sales company, as well as public relations firms in Kentucky. He has a bachelor’s... Read More →
avatar for Lou Drapeau

Lou Drapeau

Director of Risk Management, University of Kentucky
Mr. Drapeau is director of risk management at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, a position he has held since November 1, 2003. Prior to that, he was the risk manager for The Budd Company/ThyssenKrupp USA in Troy, Michigan, for 22 years, retiring in 2001. The Budd Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp AG of Germany. He started his risk management career as the risk manager for the city of Dearborn, Michigan. | | He is a... Read More →
avatar for Doug Onley

Doug Onley

Senior Claims Counsel, United Educators Insurance
Doug Onley is senior claims counsel and head of the South claims team for United Educators Insurance, the nation’s premier insurer of education institutions. He supervises a team of attorneys and claims analysts responsible for litigation management, case analysis and dispute resolution of lawsuits. Mr. Onley joined UE in 2002 after five years in the antitrust litigation practice at Howrey Simon Arnold & White in Washington, D.C. At Howrey he... Read More →
avatar for William E. Thro

William E. Thro

General Counsel, University of Kentucky
William E. Thro, the general counsel of the University of Kentucky, is an accomplished attorney, academic and appellate advocate. | | As the chief legal officer for the University of Kentucky, he provides proactive advice on critical legal and policy issues confronting a public flagship land grant research university with an integrated academic medical center and a high profile athletics program. Prior to assuming his present position in 2012... Read More →


Monday October 12, 2015 10:20am - 11:35am
Marquette II Hilton Minneapolis