2023 Legal & Public Policy Conference
Biola University, La Mirada, CA
This conference will feature critical conversations for your campus, including a comprehensive regulatory update, Title IX briefings and analysis, and an overview of the current legal landscape, free speech issues, and more. In addition, we are bringing back the popular crisis simulation to prepare institutions for when a legal issue quickly transforms into a communications and public relations crisis. This conference is ideal for presidents, government relations professionals, communications experts, and in-house and outside counsel, but we welcome any member of your campus intrigued by the issues facing Christian higher education today. Our hope is that LAPP will prepare and invigorate leaders for the Kingdom work of Christ-centered education.
Nathan “Nate” A. Adams, IV is a partner with the international law firm Holland & Knight, LLP and chairs its Religious Institution Practice Group. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida, J.D. from the University of Texas, and B.A. from Wheaton College. Nathan speaks, writes and publishes extensively. He is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, most federal appellate courts, and all state courts in Colorado, the District of Columbia and Florida. He chairs the Florida Bar Education Law Committee and is recognized as among The Best Lawyers in America.
Gregory S. Baylor serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is the director of the Center for Religious Schools and Senior Counsel for Government Affairs.
Since joining ADF in 2009, Baylor has focused on defending and advancing the religious freedom of faith-based educational institutions through advice, education, legislative and public advocacy, and representation in disputes. He has testified about religious liberty issues three times before congressional committees.
Greg regularly comments on religious liberty and higher education issues in television, radio, and print media, including The New York Times, Christianity Today, National Public Radio, and network and cable news programs. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for the Museum of the Bible and the International Alliance for Christian Education.
Greg earned his Juris Doctor in 1990 from Duke University School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif, with high honors, and served on the editorial board of the Duke Law Journal. He received his bachelor’s degree in Honors English in 1987 from Dartmouth College. Following graduation from law school, he served as law clerk to the Hon. Jerry E. Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He practiced labor and employment law at two large international law firms for three years before joining the staff of Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom, where he served for 15 years prior to joining ADF. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife (a medical doctor) and two daughters.
Mr. Begakis is an associate at Consovoy McCarthy PLLC where he assists clients with litigation, appellate, and regulatory matters that encompass constitutional, administrative, and commercial law. Before joining the firm, he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division as a Policy Advisor. He is a former law clerk to Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and Judge Margaret Ryan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Barry H. Corey is the eighth president of Biola University. A native of New England, Corey previously served as dean of the faculty and vice president for education at Gordon‐Conwell Theological Seminary as well as its vice president for development. He received his B.A. in English and biblical studies from Evangel University and his M.A. in American studies and Ph.D. in education from Boston College. Corey is the author of the books Make the Most of It: A Guide to Loving Your College Years (Tyndale, 2020) and Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue (Tyndale, 2016). He currently serves on the boards of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the Museum of the Bible, and Christianbook International Outreach. He and his wife, Paula, have three children: Anders — who is married to Ashley — Ella and Samuel.
Dr. Brent Ellis has served as the President of Spring Arbor University in Michigan since 2013 and has over 30 years of leadership experience in Christian higher education. During his presidency, Dr. Ellis has focused on the uniqueness of an SAU education that identifies Christ as the perspective for learning while advancing the uncompromising mission of educating for Christ and His Kingdom. His greatest passion is helping individuals live out who God created them to be and sending them into the world as ambassadors of Christ’s message of redemption and reconciliation.
Dr. Ellis has placed Spring Arbor University on state, federal, and global maps through his volunteer and elected participation in several organizations, including the NAIA, the NAIA Council of Presidents, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Association of Free Methodist Educational Institutions, and his upcoming delegation to the 4th Lausanne Congress in Seoul, South Korea. Dr. Ellis has also made several presentations at national conferences, published articles in nationally recognized journals, and authored the book Grace and Truth.
Dr. Ellis and his wife, Christy, have three children: Charlie, Lainey, and Joey. Dr. Ellis holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University, a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, a master’s degree in ministry from Bethel College, and a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Greenville College.
Josh is a member of the BYU Office of General Counsel, and currently serves as primary legal counsel for BYU-Idaho. He received a B.A. in English Language from Brigham Young University and a J.D. from The University of Notre Dame Law School. He also holds an Master’s of Religion in Contemporary Society from King’s College London. Prior to working for BYU, he clerked for Judge Clark Waddoups of the United States District Court for the District of Utah and was an associate in the First Amendment and Religious Organizations Practice Group at Kirton McConkie in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gary Friesen has served as General Counsel/Assistant Corporate Secretary for The Christian and Missionary Alliance since 2014 and most recently as Vice President/General Counsel. Formerly he served in various roles at Peacemaker Ministries, including Acting CEO, Executive Vice President, and Conciliation Director. He graduated from George Fox University and Willamette University College of Law, after which he practiced law in Oregon for eight years and led the church-based reconciliation ministry at Salem Alliance Church. Gary recently completed his PhD studies. Gary loves to teach, and has taught and consulted with Christian leaders across the globe. Primarily, he is passionate about seeing people everywhere experience the redemptive power of the gospel in their relationships, beginning with himself, his wife, and their four children.
Jim Gash began his term as the eighth president and chief executive officer of Pepperdine University on August 1, 2019. The first alumnus to lead Pepperdine as president, Gash has served the University in a professional capacity since 1999. Prior to assuming the presidency, he was the associate dean for strategic planning and external relations at the Pepperdine School of Law, where he provided operational oversight for many signature development initiatives. From 2005-12, he served as the law school’s first dean of students, focusing on enhancing the academic, social, and spiritual life of law students.
Gash holds a bachelor’s degree in finance (summa cum laude) from Abilene Christian University and a juris doctor degree from the Pepperdine School of Law, where he finished first in his class and served as the editor in chief of the Pepperdine Law Review.
He has been married to Joline Gash for 32 years, and together they have three children — Jessica, Joshua, and Jennifer.
Donelle Harder is a senior vice president at Pinkston, where she leads high-profile accounts that are impacting public policy and shaping the future of higher education, financial services, health care and other sectors.
Harder’s clients appear as thought leaders in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Economist, FOX News, MSNBC, and more. Her strategic communications plans have allowed clients to successfully overcome complex public dialogue and influence policy objectives at the highest levels of Washington, D.C.
Prior to Pinkston, Donelle founded and led her own strategic communications consulting business in the Midwest that had billed $1 million in client services and employed six individuals over the course of 20 months until its acquisition. She also previously served as one of four direct reports to Governor Kevin Stitt in the role as Senior Advisor to the Governor’s 15-person cabinet and more than 12 state agencies comprised of more than 9,000 individuals and $12 billion in expenditures. Harder first worked with Stitt as an advisor on his historic gubernatorial campaign that launched in Oct. 2017, and she continues to advise for him today.
Harder accrued additional senior leadership experience in Washington, D.C. in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Harder is a proud graduate of Baylor University, and she and her family share their time between Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C.
Dr. David A. Hoag serves as the President of Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida. Dr. Hoag has 36 years of leadership experience in Christian higher education.
Dr. Hoag holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Saint Louis University, a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Sports Administration from the University of Kentucky, and a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in Physical Education from Asbury University.
Dr. Hoag serves in a variety of volunteer roles helping position Warner at the state and national levels: At the state level, he is the Chair of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida and president of The Sun Conference (NAIA). At the national level, Dr. Hoag serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of Presidents for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and he is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges & University’s board of directors.
Shirley Hoogstra became the seventh president of the CCCU in September 2014. In this role, Hoogstra combines her zeal for the rule of law and her passion for Christian higher education as she promotes the value and purpose of high quality, Christ-centered liberal arts education that shapes students who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind. Prior to the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Hoogstra served for 15 years as vice president for student life at her alma mater, Calvin University, and spent more than a decade practicing law as a partner at a firm specializing in litigation in New Haven, Connecticut.
Ryan June is a Partner with Castañeda + Heidelman LLP, a boutique firm with a national presence serving nonprofits and companies. Ryan’s practice focuses on trademark, copyright, dispute resolution/litigation, and investigations. Prior to joining C+H, Ryan was Assistant General Counsel for Moody Bible Institute, where he served Moody’s undergraduate and graduate schools, as well as its media divisions Moody Publishers and Moody Radio. There, Ryan’s experience included oversight of and counseling on IP licensing, expansion, and enforcement for the institution’s IP assets, including the NYT bestselling book The 5 Love Languages®, by Dr. Gary Chapman. Prior to his time at Moody, Ryan practiced in the general commercial litigation and investigations group of Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago. Ryan received his B.A. in Political Science and Business/Economics from Wheaton College and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Terry M. Kollmorgen is a partner in the law firm of Moyers Martin, LLP where he has been practicing law since 1989. Mr. Kollmorgen received his Bachelor of Business Administration – Finance Degree with highest honors from the University of Oklahoma in 1986. He graduated with highest honors from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1989. Mr. Kollmorgen regularly authors of articles for and speaker at national labor and employment seminars. Mr. Kollmorgen serves as General Counsel for Oral Roberts University.
The Chair of Thompson Coburn LLP’s Higher Education Practice, Aaron has over two decades of experience assisting institutions to navigate complex legal and policy matters. He and his colleagues are valued for their deep understanding of the postsecondary regulatory framework, including requirements relating to the federal financial aid programs, accreditation, and state authorization. The host of Thompson Coburn’s popular Higher Education Webinar Series, and editorial director of REGucation, the firm’s higher education law and policy blog, Aaron is a frequent writer and speaker on topics relating to higher education policy and regulation. He currently resides in Saint Louis, Missouri, with his wife and three kids, the world’s greatest dog, and six rowdy chickens.
Rick is a professor at Talbot School of Theology and the Director of the Office of Faith and Learning at Biola University and co-director of the Winsome Conviction Project. He has authored three books and has published numerous academic journal articles applying theology to a wide variety of disciplines including business leadership, disability, suffering, bioethics, and vocation. He served as a pastor of a large evangelical church for 20 years before joining the faculty of Biola University. He has served on many boards and other leadership roles that have given him wide-ranging experience in conflict resolution with Christian churches, boards, universities and organizations. He has also worked with the national organization Braver Angels, moderating workshops that bring together right and left-leaning citizens to discuss their conflicting political convictions.
Joe Moore is Chief Marketing Communications Officer at Wheaton College, where he has served since 2018. He has been a higher education communications professional for more than two decades, overseeing a variety of reputation crises and enrollment marketing initiatives. A journalist directly out of college, he was recruited after two years to be the Director of Media Relations for the University of Missouri System. He later worked as Director of Media Relations for Saint Xavier University in Chicago. He was most recently Vice President for Marketing and Communications at College of DuPage, a public community college of more than 22,000 students located in the western suburbs of Chicago. He received his Bachelor’s in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his Master’s of Business Administration from Saint Xavier University.
Tim Muehlhoff (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a Professor of Communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in conflict resolution, apologetics, gender, and family communication. He is co-director of Biola’s Winsome Conviction Project that seeks to reintroduce compassion and civility into our disagreements. He’s the co-host of the Winsome Conviction Podcast where people with differing viewpoints are brought on for engaging dialogue. For more, check out Winsome Conviction Project.
Tim has written extensively in the area of cultural engagement and conflict resolution including Winsome Conviction: Disagreeing without Dividing the Church and Winsome Persuasion: Christian Influence in a Post Christian World (with Biola professor Rick Langer) each having received a merit award from Christianity Today’s Book of the Year Awards. Tim’s newest book is Eyes to See: Recognizing God’s Common Grace in an Unsettled World (IVP).
Kathryn Nash is a Partner at the law firm of Lathrop GPM, where she serves as Chair of its Labor, Employment & Higher Education Practice Group, and is co-founder of trainED, a provider of higher education trainings and compliance services. Kathryn advises colleges and universities on various employment and higher education issues, including Title VII, Title IX, Clery, VAWA, and FERPA, and is a leading voice on matters pertaining to sexual misconduct and harassment. Kathryn and her trainED team have conducted hundreds of sexual misconduct trainings, investigations, adjudications, and appeals, and they regularly revise institutional policies.
William A. Pierce is the senior director of APCO Worldwide and specializes in providing strategic advice and counsel, tactical execution, and representation. He helps clients develop strategies and tactics that combine media relations, policy, advocacy, and alliances in campaigns to achieve definable objectives. Areas of expertise include health care reform, policy development, the FDA regulatory process, the CDC, and NIH, and First Amendment protection issues and disability rights. His work includes media relations, policy development, issues advocacy, message development, coalition and third-party development and management. He also provides crisis communications counsel and support as well as media, presentation, and speech training.
Before joining APCO Worldwide, Bill served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Director of Public Affairs at Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), and worked as a Press Secretary for multiple members of Congress. Bill earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and English and a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1998, he also earned the designation of Professional from the Academy for Healthcare Management.
Eric Rassbach is Vice President and Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, where he has served since 2004. He has led or been a part of Becket litigation teams in each of Becket’s pathbreaking victories at the United States Supreme Court, including Hosanna-Tabor, Hobby Lobby, Holt v. Hobbs, Zubik v. Burwell, Agudath Israel of America v. Cuomo, and Fulton v. Philadelphia. In 2020, Eric argued Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru to the Supreme Court, garnering a 7-2 win for his Catholic school clients.
Eric frequently comments on church-state issues in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and other major press outlets. He has published legal scholarship in the Harvard Law Review Forum, Tennessee Law Review, the Illinois Law Review, the Cato Supreme Court Review, and other legal journals, and often speaks to law school audiences.
Before joining Becket, Eric worked at Baker Botts LLP in Houston, where he worked in international project finance. He also served as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal in Houston, Texas.
Eric graduated from Haverford College with a degree in Comparative Literature, is a member of Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School. Eric was a 2012-2013 Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School.
He is currently a Visiting Professor and the inaugural Executive Director of The Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Religious Liberty Clinic at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law in Malibu.
Kit Riehl is an Associate General Counsel for Baylor University. He received his J.D. from Baylor University School of Law. Kit has served in the Office of General Counsel at Baylor for more than 20 years during which time he has provided legal advice and support for all aspects of research at the university from sponsored research to intellectual property protection to technology commercialization. His other areas of responsibility include trademark protection and licensing. Prior to coming to Baylor, Kit was a litigator in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 10 years.
Leo Santiago was born in Germany but raised in San Diego. He attended University of San Diego for undergrad and graduated in 1994 with a B.A. in Philosophy. He then taught High School Social Sciences for 19 years in the Grossmont District in San Diego County from 1996 to 2015. Leo graduated Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2012 and passed the California State Bar in the same year. He practiced family law, federal security clearance appeals, and personal injury law for a few years and transitioned to the Erickson Law Firm in 2017 where he served as outside counsel for K-12 districts, Community College districts, and several CSU institutions across California. Leo became General Counsel for Point Loma Nazarene University in September 2022.
Dwight Schettler serves as President of Ambassadors of Reconciliation and the Institute for Christian Conciliation. He joined the staff of Ambassadors of Reconciliation in February 2014 as Vice President for Advancement. He also served on AoR’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining Ambassadors, Dwight served four years as Director of Training & Certification for Peacemaker Ministries. He provides reconciliation services and teaches reconciliation training events around the world. Dwight was introduced to Christian conciliation as a party in a conflict where Ambassadors of Reconciliation led an intervention in his home church. He credits that experience as a turning point in his life.
Bryan Seiler is the General Counsel at Wheaton College (Illinois), an interdenominational Christian liberal arts institution with approximately 3,000 students and over 800 employees. In addition to his role as in-house legal counsel, Bryan serves as the Assistant Secretary to Wheaton’s Board of Trustees and oversees the risk management function. Prior to joining Wheaton College, Bryan was a Staff Attorney in The Salvation Army Central Territory’s Legal Department, where he managed the Legacy Administration Team and later oversaw the organization’s employment, labor, and immigration law matters. Bryan began his legal career as an associate attorney with the Minnesota law firm Gray Plant Mooty, where he was a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group and Higher Education Team. Bryan is a graduate of Wheaton College (B.A., cum laude) and the University of Minnesota (J.D. & M.P.P., magna cum laude), where he served as Symposium Editor of the Minnesota Law Review.
Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is the Dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola University and Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor at Mariners Church. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and he has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN.
His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates.
Ben Thomas is a Christian, a non-cradle Catholic, husband to Karen, and father to four (going on five) young children.
He is a partner in the Dallas office of Reid Collins & Tsai LLP, a boutique trial firm that prosecutes a wide range of complex commercial matters in federal and state courts across the country, including financial fraud actions, Ponzi scheme-related cases, cross-border disputes, and professional-liability matters.
Before joining Reid Collins, Ben clerked for the Honorable Sidney A. Fitzwater of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas and the Honorable Edith Brown Clement of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He received a B.A., summa cum laude, from Baylor University, an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
As Provost at Calvin University, Noah Toly supervises both academic programs and the athletic department. Before joining Calvin in 2021, he was founder and Executive Director of the Center for Urban Engagement at Wheaton College, where he also served as Professor of Urban Studies and Politics & International Relations. In addition to an M.A. and Ph.D. in Urban Affairs & Public Policy, he holds an M.A. in Theology. He has served as Lecturer at the Free University of Berlin’s Center for Global Politics, Senior Fellow for Global Cities at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, and Visiting Scholar at Duke Divinity School, where he serves on the steering committee of the Traditioned Innovation Project.
Dr. Calvin L. Troup is Geneva College’s twentieth President since its founding in 1848. He took office in 2016.
Prior to his installation as President Dr. Troup served the for many years as a member on College’s Board of Corporators and Board of Trustees. His professional service in higher education included Duquesne University (1996-2016) where he was a faculty member in Communication & Rhetorical Studies, directing the university’s nationally ranked Rhetoric Ph.D. program. He also served on the faculties of Indiana University-Bloomington and the Pennsylvania State University-University Park.
Dr. Troup’s scholarly work focuses on the rhetoric and philosophy of St. Augustine and the rhetoric of technology. His books include Temporality, Eternity, and Wisdom: The Rhetoric of Augustine’s Confessions (Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1999) and Augustine for the Philosophers: The Rhetor of Hippo, the Confessions (Baylor University Press, 2014). He has published a number of book chapters and articles in scholarly journals such as The Journal of Communication and Religion, Explorations in Media Ecology, Communication Quarterly, and The Journal of Business Ethics. Troup has edited the Journal of Communication and Religion and is a past President of the Religious Communication Association.
After graduating from Geneva in 1983, Dr. Troup worked as a trend analyst, congressional staff aide, and executive for a national non-profit professional association in Washington, D.C. He returned to academia earning a master’s degree (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) in Speech Communication from the Pennsylvania State University.
Lisa Turner is an Associate General Counsel for Baylor University. Lisa received her J.D. from Arizona State University. She has earned a M.A. in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and two M.S. degrees. She is also an adjunct professor at DTS. Prior to Baylor, she served in the federal government where her duties included teaching at a post-J.D. law school. She also served as the senior lawyer for an educational organization responsible for a range of programs, including technical schools through a SACSCOC accredited university which awards masters and doctoral degrees. Her primary areas of concentration at Baylor include employment law, athletics, and policy review and support.
Christa Van Der Merwe
Christa Van Der Merwe
Christa Van Der Merwe is the General Counsel of Dallas Baptist University. Before joining DBU, Christa worked as a commercial litigation associate for a large law firm, and she previously clerked for the Honorable Judge Sam A. Lindsay of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. She received a B.S., summa cum laude, from the University of Arizona and a J.D. with honors from the University of Texas.
Paula Victor has been General Counsel at Biola University since 2019. Prior to serving Biola, Mrs. Victor was a managing partner at Anderson, McPharlin & Conners LLP, a civil litigation firm in Los Angeles. Mrs. Victor’s practice focused on litigating in many different substantive areas, the most significant being the defense of educational institutions; labor & employment; personal injury of all types including products liability, trucking and aviation; insurance coverage and bad faith; and professional liability. Defense of educational institutions included representing colleges and universities and K-12 schools in a variety of areas including staff & faculty employment matters; student disciplinary actions, many of which involve Title IX issues; discrimination claims; and personal injury cases involving accidents on campus or in university-owned vehicles. in addition to her law practice, Mrs. Victor serves on the boards of local non-profits.
Mrs. Victor received her B.A. in Political Science and Speech Communication at the University of Southern California and her J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law where she was a member of the Moot Court Honors Board. She has served as a Judge Pro Tem and taught Torts and Civil Procedure to insurance professionals.
Mike Villines was elected to the California State Assembly in 2004 to represent the 29th Assembly District, which included the counties of Fresno and Madera. Known as the heartland of California, this region is an agriculturally rich and ethnically diverse part of California. In 2010, after serving six years in the California State Assembly, which was the maximum service allowed under California’s Constitution, Mike went back to his private sector roots and opened the Villines Group, a Corporate and Government Relations consulting firm with offices in Sacramento and Fresno California.
Mike has given Keynote speeches and lectured on leadership, budget/economics, government and accountability at some of our country’s greatest forums, including at the John F. Kennedy Library, “The Rotunda” at the University of Virginia, The Emerging Leaders Program for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and throughout California at universities and business forums.
William holds the academic rank of Distinguished Professor Emeritus after many years of teaching constitutional law, advance appellate advocacy, and ethics at two secular universities. He currently holds the WFFC Distinguished Chair for faith and freedom at Spring Arbor University. William is also the founder and President Emeritus of Salt & Light Global. As counsel in numerous matters before the U.S. Supreme Court, he authored briefs on behalf of various national Christian organizations.
Professor Wagner’s public service includes serving as a federal judge in the United States Courts, legal counsel in the U.S. Senate and Chief Counsel of the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee. He also served as Senior Assistant United States attorney in the Department of Justice, and as an American diplomat and Senior Advisor for Global Criminal Justice at the U.S. Department of State. His writing is published in numerous journals, books, and other publications.
Arrival Day: Sunday, September 24
Departure Day: Thursday, September 28
Please note that this is a tentative agenda that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
Monday September 25, 2023
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM | Breakfast at Hotel
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM | Welcome & Opening Devotion | Barry Corey
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM | Session 1: Winsome Engagement on Divisive Topics | Rick Langer & Tim Muehlhoff
- Biola University professors and co-directors of the Winsome Conviction Project, Rick Langer and Tim Muehlhoff, will discuss the communication styles and strategies that unite and divide and facilitate an interactive conversation that puts these principles into action on topics such as preferred pronouns, critical race theory, and other challenging issues facing Christian institutions.
10:30 AM – 10:45 AM | Refreshment Break
10:45 AM – 12:00 PM | Session 2: Everything’s Coming Up Regulations | Aaron Lacey
- As 2023 nears its conclusion, the U.S. Department of Education continues to pursue its ambitious and sweeping regulatory agenda for institutions of higher education. During this session, Aaron Lacey, the Chair of Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education practice, will examine the range of expansions, revisions, and revivals that presently are underway. He will discuss the final rules that took effect this summer (borrower defense, misrepresentation, change in ownership, 90/10), and examine the slate of final rules that are expected to be released this fall (financial value transparency and gainful employment, Title IX, financial responsibility, administrative capability). He also will speculate regarding the rulemaking activity that is on the horizon and discuss likely timelines for proposed rules, comments, and implementation.
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM | Lunch
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM | Session 3: Appeal to Caesar: Navigating the New Title IX SOGI Rules | Steven Begakis
- The Education Department is poised to formally amend its Title IX regulations to redefine the word “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity and to prohibit strict separation of sports teams according to biological sex. Mr. Begakis will discuss the legal implications of these upcoming rule changes and practical steps Christian universities can take to navigate them while maintaining a robust commitment to Christian education and the historic faith.
2:00 PM – 3:20 PM | Session 4: Being Social: The Many Intersections of Social Media with Campus Life | Joe Moore, Bryan Seiler & Noah Toly
- This panel will walk through the academic leadership, communications and legal implications of social media and apply those principles to everyday scenarios in the life of campus.
3:20 PM – 3:40 PM | Refreshment Break
3:45 PM – 4:30 PM | Session 5: In Conversation with Jim Gash and Bill Pierce: Preparing and Responding to Crises On Campus
- This session will explore the principles of successful crisis communications, planning for a crisis, what to do when a crisis happens, and the key decisions during a crisis.
4:30 PM – 5:15 PM | Session 6: Judicial Issues Affecting Christian Higher Education & Religious Liberty in Lower Courts | Kathryn Nash
- Attorney Kathryn Nash will discuss various cases in circuit courts and state courts throughout the country. She will outline key issues from these cases as well as share tips of how institutions can proactively prepare for various legal challenges.
5:30 PM | Plenary Dinner: Engaging a Pluralistic Community with a Christ-Centered Mission | David Hoag, Ed Stetzer & Mike Villines
- As Christian higher education institutions become increasingly counter-cultural in a secular society, join this esteemed panel as they discuss various approaches to cultural and political engagement. If you are not at the table, you are on the menu, so this panel shares intentional ways to be at the table so Christian higher education has a compelling and winsome voice.
Tuesday September 26, 2023
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM | Breakfast at Hotel
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM | Devotion | Jacob Dunlap
9:15 AM – 10:15 AM | Session 1: Navigating to the City on the Hill – Let Your Light Shine when Worldviews Collide | Will Wagner
- In this presentation, Professor William Wagner looks at law, liberty, and constitutional governance in the context of colliding worldviews (in culture, generally, and specifically, on Christian campuses). In this session, you will learn how to identify and respectfully respond to false narratives, while persuasively framing God-honoring truth when you encounter culturally charged legal issues.
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM | Refreshment Break
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM | Session 2: Emerging Threats to the Religious Liberty of Christ-Centered Educational Institutions | Greg Baylor
- In this session, Greg Baylor will address a number of emerging threats to the religious liberty of faith-based organizations, including educational institutions. This comprehensive presentation will address a variety of pressing issues, including the reinterpretation of disability discrimination laws to cover gender dysphoria, the extension of state and local bans on sex discrimination to reach sexual orientation and gender identity, state efforts to ban conversion therapy, which are often broad, open-ended, and not clearly defined, and the application of Title IX and other statutes to schools because of their tax-exempt status.
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM | Session 3: Privacy, Privilege and Confidentiality | Terry Kollmorgen
- This session will address the impact and interaction of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Violence Against Women Act, and other laws addressing disclosure of information in the possession of institutions of higher education.
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | Plenary Lunch: Being at the Table Matters | Shirley Hoogstra
1:30 PM | Free Time
Wednesday September 27, 2023
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM | Breakfast at Hotel
9:00 AM – 9:15 AM | Devotion | Will Wagner
9:15 AM – 10:15 AM | Session 1: Christian Conciliation and Mediation | Christa Van Der Merwe, Gary Friesen, Dwight Schettler & Ben Thomas
- This session explores Christian conciliation and how universities can implement Christian mediation and arbitration agreements for faculty and/or staff to cultivate biblical reconciliation and incorporate a college’s Christian mission in the resolution of employment disputes. Join this panel, which includes the President of Ambassadors for Reconciliation and the Institute for Christian Conciliation and an attorney experienced in religious liberty issues, for a discussion on Christian conciliation and the opportunities for religious liberty in implementing these agreements.
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM | Refreshment Break
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM | Session 2: Federal Grants and Contracts: Camel’s Nose? | Nate Adams and Kit Riehl
- Few Christian colleges and universities consider themselves research institutions. But some are recipients of federal contracts and grants anyway. Sometimes they are unwitting recipients as when ambitious faculty take the unsanctioned initiative. Others have faculty petitioning to apply for or participate in federal grants or contracts. This session takes a look at the implications of federal grants and contracts for Christian colleges. We explore a few strategies for those interested in pursuing them.
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM | Session 3: Accelerating Change and the Beautiful Game: Intercollegiate Athletics | Leo Santiago, Noah Toly & Lisa Turner
- In this panel presentation, personnel from various NCAA division levels will review the significant changes impacting intercollegiate athletics in the past few years and anticipate issues to expect in the future. Topics will include Alston payments and the associated Hubbard-McCarrell litigation, Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) and associated House litigation and pending federal legislation, IRS memo on taxability of payments to collectives for NIL, NLRB General Counsel’s memo on student-athletes as employees, recent state laws purporting to prohibit the NCAA from enforcing rules in their states, proposed Title IX regulation changes regarding transgender athletes and state legislation, the future of gambling in college sports and multimedia rights agreements, and more.
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM | Lunch
1:35 PM – 2:30 PM | Session 4: Intellectual Property Risks and Opportunities in Christian Higher Education | Ryan June
- Higher Education Institutions are intellectual property machines, generating substantial amounts of content and maintaining names and logos with valuable goodwill. These intellectual property assets are no less valuable than others but are sometimes forgotten or relegated to the back burner because they are intangible. Attorney Ryan June will discuss some of the top risks and opportunities for Christian Higher Education institutions in the intellectual property arena to help ensure your institution stewards all its assets well.
2:30 PM – 3:25 PM | Session 5: Supreme Court Update: Past and Upcoming Cases Affecting Christian Higher Education | Eric Rassbach
- Supreme Court advocate Eric Rassbach will highlight key cases from the previous SCOTUS term, as well as provide an update on cases the Court has accepted that may affect education or religious liberty.
3:30 PM – 3:45 PM | Refreshment Break
3:45 PM – 5:00 PM | Session 6: Communicating Through Cultural Tension | Donelle Harder
- Pinkston will be facilitating a communications “hack-a-thon” session where working groups will each be presented with unique scenarios at Christian higher education institutions and the work groups will be charged with identifying and solving the communication needs to create brand stability through cultural tension.
5:15 PM | Closing Plenary Dinner | Barry Corey, Brent Ellis & Calvin Troup
- Join this panel of presidents as they discuss current issues facing presidents of higher education, including legal issues, which present a communications challenge and opportunity. Laugh and cry with these presidents as they share war stories that include proactive ways to prepare for the inevitable challenges of leading an institution of Christian higher education.
Registration for the Legal & Public Policy Conference is $525
Registration Eligibility and Process:
CCCU conferences and events are a benefit to our institutions, and we invite staff, faculty, administrators, and affiliated parties to attend. If you are not affiliated with a CCCU institution but are interested in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All registrations are reviewed to ensure they meet the CCCU eligibility policies. The CCCU reserves the right to refuse or cancel all ineligible registrations at any time and shall not be held accountable for any outside fees associated with this cancellation.
To register for the conference, click the Register button and sign in to your My CCCU account. If you have any issues or if you forgot your log-in information, please call our office at (202) 546-8713 for assistance. The final day to register for the 2023 Legal & Public Policy Conference will be Tuesday, September 12.
By registering for the conference, you are providing permission to receive emails, mailings, and faxes related to the conference. If you would like to opt-out from receiving the e-Advance Newsletter or if you wish to no longer receive emails from the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, update your preferences by logging into your MY CCCU account.
Full payment must accompany your registration. Please call the CCCU office at (202) 546-8713 if you need to make payment by check.
You may cancel your registration at any time prior to the start of the program. If you must cancel, please email email@example.com. Refunds for cancellations received through Monday, August 28 will be issued minus a $50 processing fee. No refunds will be issued for cancellations received after Monday, August 28. No-shows are not refundable. Registration transfers will be honored at any time.
Hotel & Travel Information
Holiday Inn La Mirada
$139/night plus tax
14299 Firestone Blvd, La Mirada, CA 90638
We encourage you to stay at this hotel to help uphold our commitment to their partnership with this event.
The closest airport to Biola University is John Wayne Airport-Orange County, which is located approximately 23 miles and 30 minutes from campus. The average cost of an Uber is $45 one way.
Additionally, Los Angeles International Airport is located approximately 26 miles and 45 minutes from campus. The average cost of an Uber is $70 one way.
Attendees are responsible for travel to Biola University from their hotels. Information on rental cars at John Wayne Airport can be found here. Information on rental cars at Los Angeles International Airport can be found here.