Speaker Biographies

Fighting Hate While Preserving Freedom: A Best Practices Forum

Sahar Aziz is a professor and Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar at Rutgers Law School. Her scholarship examines the intersections of national security, race, and civil rights with a focus on how national security laws and policies affect racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the United States. Her research also investigates the relationship between authoritarianism, terrorism, and rule of law in Egypt. She is the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Security, Race, and Civil Rights. She previously served as senior policy advisor for the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Robert L. Barchi has served as the 20th president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, since September 2012. He previously served for eight years as president of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and for five years as provost and chief academic officer at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Barchi, who joined the Penn faculty in 1972 and founded its Department of Neuroscience, has taught and conducted NIH-funded research in the fields of neuroscience and neurology and is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Darren Baxley is deputy chief of the University of Florida Police Department. He has been with the department since 1992 and, prior to his promotion to Deputy Chief in 2011, commanded both the patrol and investigations divisions. Mr. Baxley has extensive investigations experience and has worked numerous complex criminal cases at both the state and federal levels. He has also served on the University of Florida's Behavioral Consultation Committee for threat assessment.

Mohammad Ali Chaudry is co-founder and president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, which successfully sued Bernards Township over the township’s denial of a permit to build a mosque. Dr. Chaudry, who worked for 30 years for AT&T and was chief financial officer of its public relations division, was mayor of Bernards Township in 2004, the first Pakistani-born mayor in America. He has taught a course on the Qur’an for non-Muslims through Rutgers’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and has lectured on Muslims and Islam at the New Jersey State Police Academy as part of cultural awareness training for law enforcement officials.

Ronald K. Chen is co-dean of Rutgers Law School and a member of the law school faculty since 1987. From 2006 to 2010 he served as Public Advocate of New Jersey, charged with providing advocacy for constituencies including elder citizens, persons with disabilities, mental health services customers, and ratepayers. In that capacity, he chaired the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel on Immigrant Policy, charged with recommending how state government can help immigrants integrate into the New Jersey community. Dean Chen is general counsel for the national American Civil Liberties Union and a member of its National Board Executive Committee.

John D. Cohen is Distinguished Professor in the Program in Criminal Justice at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and executive director of the Center for Critical Intelligence Studies. He formerly served as acting under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also served as DHS’s counterterrorism coordinator and led the department’s efforts to establish programs to counter violent extremism, prevent and respond to mass casualty and active shooter attacks, and expand collaboration with faith communities.

Kenneth B. Cop has served as Rutgers University’s executive director of public safety since 2015 and chief of university police since 2012. He oversees the operation of all public safety-related services universitywide, with approximately 500 employees. Chief Cop, who first joined the Rutgers police in 1995, has initiated joint patrols of off-campus areas, which has reduced crime in those areas; established cultural sensitivity and de-escalation training for all sworn officers; and implemented a body-worn camera program to increase transparency and accountability.

Russell C. Deyo served at the Department of Homeland Security as the Acting Deputy Secretary and as the Under Secretary for Management from 2015 to January 2017. Prior to joining DHS, he spent 27 years at Johnson & Johnson, where he retired in 2012 after holding a number of positions, including vice president of administration and general counsel. From 1978 to 1985 he was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, including three years as chief of special prosecutions.

Debasish Dutta is Chancellor and Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. In a career spanning more than 30 years, he has served as educator, scholar, and administrator at four national research universities. He came to Rutgers in 2017 from Purdue University, where he was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, with a faculty appointment as a professor of mechanical engineering. Previously, he was associate provost and dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan.

John J. Farmer Jr., University Professor and Justice Alan B. Handler Scholar at Rutgers Law School, directs the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience. He is the former attorney general for New Jersey, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, and served as senior counsel for the 9/11 Commission. He has served as dean of the Rutgers School of Law–Newark and as senior vice president and university counsel, and currently serves as special counsel to the president.  Professor Farmer is author of The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11.

Paul Fishman, partner at Arnold & Porter and distinguished visiting fellow at Seton Hall University School of Law, served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from October 2009 to March 2017. As U.S. Attorney, he oversaw all federal criminal investigations and prosecutions in the state, including matters involving national security, political corruption, fraud, gang violence, narcotics distribution, civil rights, tax evasion, and environmental crimes. He was assistant U.S. Attorney from 1983 to 1994 and a senior advisor to Attorney General Janet Reno and Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick from 1994 to 1997.

Gurbir S. Grewal is the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, the first Sikh-American attorney general in U.S. history. Before his appointment in 2018, he was county prosecutor of Bergen County. Previously, he led the Economic Crimes Unit at the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. As prosecutor, he led efforts to combat the opioid crisis, address white collar crime, and uphold constitutional rights. He also ordered Mahwah police not to enforce a ban on non-New Jersey residents using Mahwah parks, concerned that a ban could spark profiling of Orthodox Jews visiting from Rockland County, New York.

Ryan P. Haygood is president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, advancing efforts to empower the state’s urban communities by connecting residents to meaningful full-time jobs, affordable housing, credit, the democratic process, and fair treatment in the criminal justice system. Prior to leading the institute, he served as deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, where he defended a core provision of the Voting Rights Act before the U.S. Supreme Court.

John Hoffman is senior vice president and general counsel at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Before coming to Rutgers, he was the acting Attorney General for the State of New Jersey from June 2013 through March 2016. In that role, he led an initiative to equip police with body-worn cameras and established a new policy directive on police-involved shooting incidents, improving the relationship between police and diverse communities. He previously served as executive assistant attorney general and as director of the Division of Investigations for the State Comptroller’s Office.

Elie Honig has served as director of the Division of Criminal Justice in the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety since 2013, overseeing a staff of more than 500 law enforcement professionals. During his tenure, the division has prosecuted cases against street gangs, drug trafficking organizations, illegal firearms traffickers, corrupt public officials, child predators, and white-collar corporate thieves. Before joining the division, he was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, including two years as deputy chief, and then co-chief, of the Organized Crime Unit.

Paul Goldenberg is vice chair of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Faith-Based Council. Mr. Goldenberg, who is a veteran of police forces in New Jersey and Florida, was for more than a decade the national director of the Secure Community Network, the homeland security initiative launched in 2004 by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He has served as advisor to the Rutgers Faith-Based Communities Security Program, which addresses emerging threats of violence to vulnerable populations.

Jeh Johnson, partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017, leading an agency responsible for counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation and maritime security, border and port security, and administration and enforcement of immigration laws. He previously was general counsel of the Department of Defense from 2009 through 2012, serving as one of the legal architects of the U.S. military’s counterterrorism mission. He also authored a report that led to repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the U.S. military.

Khalid Latif is executive director and chaplain (imam) of the Islamic Center at New York University, the first Muslim chaplain at New York University. In 2007, at age 24, he was nominated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the New York Police Department chaplain, the youngest in its history. He has been recognized as a spokesperson for co-existence, mutual understanding, and productive relationships between cultures, communities, and religions and has consulted for corporations, the U.S. Department of State, and communities on three continents.

Ava Majlesi is acting director of the Rutgers Institute for Violence Prevention and Community Safety. She also serves as program manager for the Rutgers Faith-Based Communities Security Program, which aims to prevent targeted violence and mass casualty attacks against vulnerable communities. A three-time graduate of Rutgers, she previously served as director of development for Rutgers School of Law–Newark and as a research associate for the Institute on Education Law and Policy.

Ruth B. Mandel, Board of Governors Professor of Politics at Rutgers University, has directed of the Eagleton Institute of Politics since 1995. She was a founder and director of Eagleton’s Center for American Women and Politics from 1971 through 1994, building a national center with multi-faceted research, education, public service, and information programs about women’s political participation—a subject previously unexplored. Dr. Mandel was a presidential appointee to the governing board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum from 1991 to 2006.

Jared Maples has served as director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness since June 2017, a role in which he is the governor’s designated homeland security advisor and responsible for leading the state’s counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and emergency preparedness efforts. Director Maples, who joined the office a year earlier as director of administration, spent more than a decade at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and previously worked in the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Paul S. Miller received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–Newark and his L.L.B. magna cum laude from Rutgers School of Law–Newark. Born to immigrant parents, he rose to the top of his profession, becoming executive vice president and general counsel for Pfizer Inc. He and his wife, Carol, generously support a number of programs at Rutgers, including the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience, a full-tuition scholarship at Rutgers Law School, and an annual Paul S. Miller Lecture.

Deborah T. Poritz, of counsel to the law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey from 1996 to 2006. Prior to her service on the bench, she served as New Jersey’s first female Attorney General, successfully defending Megan’s Law in state and federal courts and chairing a task force that proposed and implemented reform of the state’s juvenile justice system. She also served as chief counsel to Governor Thomas H. Kean and as assistant attorney general and director of the Division of Law for the State of New Jersey.

Francine Roston is rabbi for Glacier Jewish Community/B’nai Shalom, a synagogue-without-walls in the Flathead Valley of northwest Montana. Rabbi Roston and her family were among three Jewish families targeted for anti-Semitic cyberattacks by supporters of fellow Whitefish resident Richard Spencer. Before moving to Montana, she served as rabbi in three New Jersey congregations, including Congregation Beth El in South Orange, where she became the first woman to lead a Conservative Jewish congregation of more than 500 families.

George Selim is senior vice president of programs at the Anti-Defamation League, leading ADL’s education, law enforcement, and community service programs and overseeing the organization’s Center on Extremism. He most recently served as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s director of the Office for Community Partnerships and led a Countering Violent Extremism Task Force. Previously, he served for four years at the White House on the National Security Council staff developing policy on domestic and international security threats. Earlier, he developed policy for DHS on the intersection of civil liberties and homeland security.

Adnan Zulfiqar is an assistant professor at Rutgers Law School who specializes in criminal law, Islamic law, and laws of war. He came to Rutgers from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and previously consulted with the United Nations Development Programme and the International Development Law Organization, helping to draft penal codes and commentaries for the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of the Maldives. He also founded a small humanitarian organization in Malawi, Africa, focused on drought and flood relief, post-disaster reconstruction, and support for orphans.