U.S. Assistant Attorney General keynotes Bennett’s Charter DayCourtesy Bennett College / April 1, 2016
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U.S. Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason served as keynote speaker for Bennett College Charter Day highlighting the strides made under President Barack Obama’s administration in terms of community reform, equity in the court system and making America a more just nation.
“We are seeing a movement underway to right a history of wrong,” said Mason who spoke about one of her projects that helped communities heal the rifts and biases that prevailed. “The key is for us to remember that the police officers and the court system is here to serve us.”
Charter Day is scheduled annually to celebrate the chartering of Bennett College by the state of North Carolina in 1889. Bennett was founded as a coeducational institution in 1873, and reorganized as a college for women in 1926.
Mason told the group that more of an effort needs to be made to provide repeat offenders with the skills and tools needed to be law-abiding citizens. Mason was nominated to be Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs by President Barack Obama on February 13, 2013. Her appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 2013. As head of the Office of Justice Programs, she oversees an annual budget of more than $2 billion dedicated to supporting state, local, and tribal criminal justice agencies; an array of juvenile justice programs; a wide range of research, evaluation, and statistical efforts; and comprehensive services for crime victims.
Mason previously served the Department of Justice (DOJ) as Deputy Associate Attorney General. At DOJ her primary responsibilities were to oversee the grant making components: the Office of Justice Programs, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. In a cross-department initiative to address criminal justice issues in New Orleans, she led a team of representatives from each of the Department’s grant components, as well as the Civil Rights Division, the Office of U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the DEA and the Community Relations Service.
The speaker has ties to Bennett College. Her mother, H. Vertelle Vincent Mason, is an alumna of Bennett College in the Class of ’41. Her father Dennis Mason worked at Bennett College as a nurse.