1995 Jack Green Civil Liberties Award Honoree
For 28 consecutive years, Ken Marcus has taught Civil Liberties, Rights of the Accused, and Constitutional Law to students in Political Science and Criminal Justice Administration (CJA) departments of SSU. Sonoma State is one of few schools in the country in which constitutional law is prerequisite to a CJA major. His classes include students who want to become police officers, prison guards, and government workers. For most students, Ken’s rigorous courses are their only opportunity to understand and appreciate the protections contained in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Ken’s own enthusiasm for his subject is well known, and a large number of his students are now in public service not only in Sonoma County, but also in state and federal government positions. Many local lawyers have been inspired and encouraged by Ken through his support and teaching.
On campus, Ken is an advocate of student and staff constitutional rights in his activities as a member of the Academic Senate and his past post of Chairman of the Faculty. A previous President of the California Faculty Association, Ken now serves as Vice President.
Before coming to Sonoma State in 1967, Dr. Marcus taught Political Science at Illinois State University and where he first became active in the ACLU, NAACP, and Democratic Party, fighting the University practices of noting which landlords would not rent to black students, searching women’s dormitory rooms without consent, and listening in on conversations in the women’s lounges. He led civil rights demonstrations with his wife Marcelle on campus protesting the violence in the South.
Ken was raised on a farm in rural Michigan and obtained a Ph.D in Political Science at the University of Illinois. He has been awarded the William Jennings Bryan Prize for Political Science. Like Justice Black, one of his favorite Supreme Court Justices, Ken always carries around a copy of the Constitution.