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FSU Has at Least 2 in Moot Court Tourney

November 22, 2018

Fitchburg State's moot court teams, from left in front row: Crystal Aneke, Theresa Klobucher, Kajahna Matos, Riley Grinkis, Lauren Poirier, Sean O'Halloran-Ciccolo and Matthew Murphy; back row from left: Matthew Badagliacca, Benjamin Butkus, Webster Bokoo, William Travers, William Cooney and Alexander Ramos. SUBMITTED PHOTO Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

FITCHBURG -- Fitchburg State University will send at least two students to the national competition of the American Collegiate Moot Court tournament in Florida in January following their performance at the regional qualifying contest held last weekend.

The campus hosted nearly 100 student competitors and more than 80 members of the local legal community served as judges during the regional tournament.

Matthew Murphy of Milton, a junior majoring in political science, and Riley Grinkis of Gardner, a senior majoring in criminal justice, made it to the regional final and will compete in the nationals at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida. Those teams that made it to the regional quarterfinals advance to the national tournament, while Murphy and Grinkis won two additional rounds beyond that mark.

“We compete against some very elite schools and more than hold our own,” said Professor Paul Weizer, the longtime coach of the university’s moot court team

“Matt and Riley will be a serious force at nationals,” he added.

Other Fitchburg State students may make the tournament as alternates after the other regional competitions are completed in the coming weeks.

The competition has teams of students on opposing sides of constitutional issues making timed arguments to panels of judges, as in a federal appellate court.

In addition to six teams of students from Fitchburg State, regional tournament participants included students from Bentley University; Bridgewater State University; College of the Holy Cross; Framingham State University; Merrimack College; Patrick Henry College; St. Thomas University; Suffolk University; SUNY Cortland; U.S. Air Force Academy; Wheaton College; and Williams College.

The fictional case being argued this year concerns a woman suing the Olympus State University School of Law, alleging their admissions policy that gives preferential weight to male applicants violates her right to equal protection under the law. The plaintiff, who in this case also teaches part-time at the institution, also argues her First Amendment rights were violated when she was fired for complaining about the admissions policy.

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