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Putting Students in the Hot Seat: Decision-making During Simulated Terrorist Attacks

March 20, 2009 – The S.J. Quinney College of Law will present a live counterterrorism simulation on Friday, March 27, 2009 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This will be broadcast in real time in the Sutherland Moot Courtroom at the College of Law via video projections and accompanying audio as an opportunity for the public to observe the event, and also may be viewed online at

Conference rooms will become situation rooms. Students will role play high-ranking government officials, intelligence agents, and media representatives. Information will spread through live news feeds, webcasts, video/teleconferencing, and other electronic tools. Over an intense six-hour period, students enrolled in Professor Amos Guiora’s “Global Perspectives in Counterterrorism” class will be confronted with multiple terrorist attacks simultaneously occurring in various locations. Participants will be required to make time-sensitive decisions while integrating the rule of law, gathering and analyzing intelligence information, weighing policy considerations, and pondering operational issues.

“This is really a means of bridging the divide between theory and practice,” Guiora explained. “Though we’re creating an artificial environment in which students are role playing, the scenarios that are thrown at them are real. They have to distinguish between actual and perceived threats, constantly communicate with their counterparts in different countries, assess the impact on individual liberties – all with the limited information they have on hand.”

The other component of the simulation is the live streaming on the web for external audiences. “People can control their individual viewing experience via a web-based dashboard that will provide four camera views, links to our simulated news sites and Twitter feeds, live chat for viewers, and a blog,” noted Aaron Dewald, Director of the Technology Initiative at the College of Law. The web address for the dashboard is

Hiram Chodosh, dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law, added, “This experience as a whole will enable students to develop a series of intellectual and emotional resources that will be beneficial in their respective professional lives. We are teaching them true leadership – about making decisions when the stakes are high and the information is low but the consequences are serious.”

The counterterrorism simulation will be held on Friday, March 27, from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the College of Law. For more information, visit or contact Professor Amos Guiora at 216-470-6386.