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January 15, 2016

SVSU students compete in national moot court tourney in California

Four Saginaw Valley State University students from SVSU’s nationally-ranked moot court program are competing in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association national tournament hosted by California State University-Long Beach Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15-16.

Competing in the national tournament are Mark Babcock, a Saginaw resident who graduated in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is enrolled in additional courses; Rachel Cahill, a political science major from Niagara Falls, Ontario; Billie DeShone, a history major from Saginaw; and Rob Mass, an economics major from Howell.

The four qualified for nationals by virtue of their strong performances at the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s Great Lakes Regional moot court tournament hosted by SVSU Nov. 13-14.

Two SVSU students also are attending the tournament in California as alternates. They are political science majors Tor Dahl of Saginaw and Connor Hughes of Howell.

In a moot court competition, students act as attorneys in teams of two. They make arguments to a panel of judges by drawing from constitutional law and Supreme Court cases. Judges then decide winners based on public speaking ability, knowledge of cases and of law, and the ability to answer questions.

Cahill’s accomplishment marks the second consecutive year she has competed for the national tournament. She was part of a team that finished 59th overall in the January 2015 competition in Miami.

SVSU’s undergraduate program ranks No. 20 overall in the national rankings and earned a No. 17 finish for the 2014-15 academic year. Formed in 2010, the relatively young program has quickly climbed ahead of highly regarded schools such as Duke University and the University of Chicago.

For more information on SVSU’s moot court program, visit

For more information on the American Collegiate Moot Court Association, visit

Saginaw Valley State University is a comprehensive university with more than 90 programs of study for its nearly10,000 students. Located on a suburban campus in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region, SVSU is committed to quality teaching in the classroom, field-based learning outside, NCAA Division II athletics and a broad range of academic and extracurricular opportunities for students to excel.

In 2015, SVSU received the Community Engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a distinction achieved by only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities. By their senior year, 84 percent of students have engaged with community employers and agencies in internships, field placements or some other component of their academic preparation. National research has shown that students who are engaged in the community and on campus are more likely to be successful academically and to have the critical thinking, problem-solving skills, self-efficacy, and adaptability desired by employers.