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Johnnie Cochran to speak at UA tonight

By Rachael Myer
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 12, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Courtesy of Ryan Rosensteel, ASUA Johnnie Cochran will give a speech titled "Bridging the Racial Divide" at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Arizona Ballroom of the Memorial Student Union. The speech will be about unity among different ethnic groups.

Famed O.J. Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran will speak at the UA tonight about unity among ethnic groups.

Cochran is scheduled to give a speech titled "Bridging the Racial Divide," at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Student Union Arizona Ballroom. Sponsored by ASUA, admission is free and open to students and the general public.

"We're trying to make this a positive event more than an O.J. Simpson speech," said Ryan Rosensteel, Associated Students administrative vice president. The attorney will discuss breaking down walls between ethnic groups to foster harmony, Rosensteel said.

Cochran does not want to answer questions about the O.J. Simpson trial, Rosensteel said, but would prefer to discuss many of his other civil rights cases.

"He has worked on civil rights cases for the equality of all people," Rosensteel said. "I just hope everyone asks appropriate questions."

The ASUA Speakers Board is paying $10,000 for Cochran's visit, Rosensteel said. Airfare and hotel costs will also be provided at the student organization's expense.

Typically, Cochran charges about $25,000 to lecture, but ASUA has a contract with his representatives, the American Program Bureau, that helped cut the price, Rosensteel said.

ASUA paid $20,000 total for both Cochran and Jan Schlichtmann, who spoke at the UA in November. A movie and best-selling book titled A Civil Action is based on Schlichtmann, an East Coast attorney.

"It seems like an outrageous cost but it really isn't based on what speakers fees normally are," he said.

Cochran is expected to speak for about an hour, answer questions for about half an hour and then sign books or autographs, Rosensteel said.

UA African-American Student Affairs is also sponsoring the event. The organization has arranged a reception for students and leaders at 6:30 p.m. in the Martin Luther King building, said Robin Lemon-Soape, interim assistant dean.

"For us, this is a big opportunity for him to interact with our students," Lemon-Soape said. "I hope all the young people and everybody will enjoy it."