Mission and Values > Programs > Vincentian Mission Institute > Current VMI Cohort > Craig Mousin

Craig Mousin

I have been the University Ombudsperson at DePaul since 2001.  I received a B.S. from Johns Hopkins University, a J.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a M. Div. from Chicago Theological Seminary.  I joined the College of Law faculty in 1990, and served as the Executive Director of the Center for Church/State Studies until 2001, Acting Director until 2003, and co-director from 2004--2007. I co-founded and continue to participate in the Center’s Interfaith Family Mediation Program. I have taught in DePaul’s School for New Learning, the Religious Studies Department, and the Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies program.  I have also taught Immigration Law and Policy as an adjunct law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law.          
Prior to DePaul, I began practicing labor law at Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson in 1978.  In 1984, I founded and directed the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center, a provider of legal assistance to refugees which has since become the National Immigrant Justice Center.  I also directed legal services for Travelers & Immigrants Aid between 1986 and 1990.   The United Church of Christ ordained me in 1989.  At that time,   Wellington Avenue U.C.C. called me as an Associate Pastor.  I was a founding co-pastor of the DePaul Ecumenical Gathering (1996-2001).  I serve as a Life Trustee of the Chicago Theological Seminary.  In addition, I am a member of the Leadership Council of the National Immigrant Justice Center, a member of the Leadership Council of the Marjorie Kovler Center for Survivors of Torture, President of the Board of the Eco-Justice Collaborative, and a former President and Board member of the Immigration Project of downstate Illinois.  I am a current member of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Committee.

Why DePaul?

I thought I was serving in my dream job when I directed the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center.  That position permitted me to meet and represent refugees seeking asylum in the United States, recruit and train pro bono attorneys to meet the legal needs of thousands of refugees who could not afford legal assistance, and work with hundreds of dedicated volunteers engaged in advocacy for a more just immigration legal system and social service policies.  A friend informed me that DePaul’s College of Law was looking for a new Director of its Center for Church/State Studies.  Several intriguing aspects inspired me to apply for the position.  Working as both an attorney and an ordained clergy, I had been engaged in many aspects of the relationship between law and religion in contemporary life.  The Center investigated many of these issues.  My local congregation had participated in the public sanctuary movement assisting refugees in the 1980s out of their faith understanding to treat the stranger as the native.   Working with DePaul’s Center for Church/State Studies permitted me to explore and write about the First Amendment religious liberty issues involved with conscience and society.  I had enjoyed teaching pro bono attorneys how to practice asylum law and had developed a number of theories how to best accomplish that goal.  At DePaul, I could teach immigration and refugee law with the hope of increasing the number of graduates who would help further justice for immigrants and refugees while continuing to develop my teaching skills.  My biggest concern that I expressed to the Dean stemmed from the Center’s charter that it did not advocate on issues, but rather provided a place for scholarship and research and remained neutral itself on issues of church and state.  I enjoyed being an advocate and was concerned that the responsibilities of the Center’s Director would preclude that role. The Dean responded that the Vincentians encourage faculty and staff to incorporate social justice in their work through the Vincentian mission.  His response persuaded me that DePaul would be a place I could learn much and continue my advocacy in different forms.  My experiences have justified that conclusion. We expanded the Center’s programs while being consistent with its charter.  Our Interfaith Family Mediation Project provided pro bono representation to interfaith families in the midst of divorce who could not decide on the subsequent religious upbringing of their children.  Thus, we provided a public service in a contentious area that helped people find a solution while also freeing the courts from complicated First Amendment challenges.  We expanded DePaul’s law offerings by developing the Legal Clinic’s Asylum and Refugee Program as well as its Technical Assistance program where our students partner with over 25 community based organizations to provide legal assistance to immigrants and refugees.  Through programs like the Vincentian Endowment Fund and the Mission and Values Office, I have been blessed with many opportunities to expand to other priorities such as human dignity and employment, mediation of conflict, and celebrating other colleagues at DePaul who reveal ways to follow the Vincentian legacy of service.

Why VMI?

Through my work as University Ombudsperson which is housed in the Office of Mission and Values, I have been able to research and write about how all those who have come before us in this Vincentian tradition have interpreted the Vincentian legacy in the face of contemporary challenges.  Two areas that I have tried to focus on are refugee and immigrant justice and Frederic Ozanam’s theories of justice in employment and articulation of issues such as a living wage.   I have been impressed with how those leaders have found ways to not only address issues of social justice, but articulate them in ways that have inspired others to gather for the mission.  VMI provides an opportunity to explore how we can achieve similar ends today.  Working with colleagues from all three institutions will enable me to see through others’ eyes the possibilities present in the Vincentian mission.   Furthermore, the ability to do this engaged research in the context of higher education with its challenge of engaging more students, staff and faculty in these endeavors provides an additional incentive.