LEWISTON – A new course that offers an interdisciplinary look at hate violence in the United States will be offered in the spring at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn campus.

“Hate Violence in the Contemporary United States” (LOS 399) will begin with a brief examination of some of the historical roots of contemporary hate violence in the United States, then will focus on major issues presented by hate violence from the mid-1980s to the present. It is being offered through the Leadership and Organizational Studies program.

The course will be taught by Stephen L. Wessler, research associate professor and executive director at the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence.

Wessler, an attorney, developed and directed the civil rights enforcement effort for the Maine Department of the Attorney General from 1992 to 1999. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston University School of Law and has practiced law, both in the Maine Attorney General’s office and in private practice, for more than 22 years before creating the center in 1999.

Wessler said the course will examine the causes and impacts of hate violence and the legal and policy implications of how hate crimes have been addressed in the United States.

“This course, unfortunately, does not focus on every ethnic, religious, racial, sexual or other group, which has been targeted with significant hate violence in the United States. These omissions do not in any way diminish the importance of a particular group’s experience with prejudice, hate and violence,” said Wessler.

The class will meet from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Jan. 17. If interested, call 753-6500 for advising or registration assistance. A complete spring course listing is available online at www.usm.maine.edu/lac/schedules.

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