MAYDAY! Conference

What Would You Do?: Mass Surveillance and the Citizen
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The 2017 MAYDAY! Peace Conference considered the obligations of citizens to check the overreach of government power in our information age.

James Madison argued that "The essence of government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." We live in an age where our security is both protected and threatened by new technologies such as drones, surveillance cameras, and data mining. Fundamental debates about the tension between peace as “order” and peace as “freedom” arise. What are the boundaries of government power and secrecy in times of peace and war? What is the role of citizens in making government transparent and accountable?

What will you do and what should we do to protect the rights of citizens? What are the ethical implications of whistleblowing and WikiLeaks? How can you manage your own personal data more safely? What are your ethical responsibilities as a citizen to make power subservient to justice?

View extensive web resources created by a Gustavus librarian: Privacy in the era of Mass Surveillance: Why It Matters
The event was livestreamed and archived online.
Schedule of Events
Time Event
10 a.m.

Welcoming Ceremony & Keynote Addresses

Christ Chapel

 "Speaking Truth to Power: Moral Obligations of Citizenship" Bruce Fein
Presented by Bruce Fein

Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer in Washington, D.C., former assistant deputy attorney for the Reagan administration, and attorney for the Snowden family. Fein has written on constitutional issues for The New York Times, The Washington Times, and and has contributed work to the Heritage Foundation and other conservative think tanks. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law school, and his first political activism work was participating with the Freedom Riders during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.



11:30 a.m. 

Lunch Break 

1:30 to 3:30p.m.

Afternoon Panel Discussion and Q&A
Alumni Hall, Johnson Student Union

Please join us for a series of 20-minute presentations on topics related to citizenship and mass surveillance. Panelists include:

Coleen RowleyColeen Rowley is a retired FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division legal counsel of the FBI. She was one of three whistleblowers chosen as persons of the year by TIME magazine in 2002, related to her part in the September 11, 2001 FBI investigation.


Jane KirtleyJane E. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota. Her research area is media law and she teaches courses related to freedom of speech and the press, mass communication law, and internet law.


Thomas DrakeThomas Drake is a veteran of the Air Force specializing in intelligence, served as a CIA analyst, and was a senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). In 2010 the government alleged that Drake mishandled documents and he was prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917. Drake contends he was persecuted for publicly challenging the NSA’s Trailblazer Project.

All events are open to the public without charge. For more information, contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at Gustavus (call 507-933-7520 or e-mail

The annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference was established at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1981 with funding by the late Florence and Raymond Sponberg. It was established to inspire attendees to work for justice and peace throughout the world. 

What does peace mean to you? That’s the central question photographer and storyteller John Noltner has been asking people for his social commentary project, A Peace of My Mind.

Founded in 2009, A Peace of My Mind is a multimedia art project that fosters public dialogue about issues related to conflict resolution, civic responsibility, and peace. With engaging portraits and compelling personal stories, nearly 100 diverse subjects describe what peace means to them, how they work toward it in their lives, and some of the obstacles they encounter along the way.

A Peace of my Mind - On Display in Christ Chapel 
April 25 - May 5

Peace of My Mind

Class Schedule Modification

Normal Start Time Adjusted Start Time
10:30-11:20 a.m. 11:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
11:30 a.m -12:20 p.m. 12:10-12:40 p.m.
12:30-1:20 p.m. 12:50-1:20 p.m.

The class schedule will be modified to allow for all students and faculty to attend the morning session. Classes that start at 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. will meet at the regularly scheduled times. Classes that start at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on that day will be shortened to thirty minutes each with ten minutes between classes. Normal scheduling will resume at 1:30 p.m.