Former United States Attorney General Janet Reno spoke to a crowd of approximately 700 as part of the Learning Society of Queens 2004-2005 Speaker Series. The lecture was held at 7pm in Dana Auditorium on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte.
Among the many topics she addressed, Reno spoke on her experiences as the head of the Justice Department in the Clinton Administration, including the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas, and the Elian Gonzalez case in 2000. She said her decision to take over the Branch Dividian compound in Waco was one of the most difficult decisions of her life - and one of her biggest disappointments.
Returning Elian Gonzalez to his father in Cuba was also difficult - until she turned the television on one afternoon and saw the boy happy to be with his father. Reno said that if she had this situation to do over again, that she may have moved more quickly.
Earlier that afternoon, Reno spoke to a full house of Queens students in Belk Chapel. Students were eager to ask questions and listen to her thoughts and experiences as former attorney general.
Appointed 78th Attorney General of the United States, Janet Reno became the first woman to lead the nation's largest law enforcement office of 125,000 employees. A major figure during the Clinton administration, her eight-year term made her the longest-serving attorney general in history. During her tenure, she revolutionized law enforcement by achieving conventional crime rate and drug-use reductions. Facing some of the most difficult decisions of law enforcement, from the Branch Davidian standoff to the Elian Gonzales case, Reno demonstrated outstanding integrity, independence and adherence to the laws of justice.
This event was made possible by the Learning Society of Queens. Member dues provide the funding for this national speaker series at Queens.