March 06, 2015

Wheetley shines at Model Illinois Government

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Christopher M. Wheetley, a senior political science major at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the Outstanding Moot Court Attorney for 2015 after the 37th Annual Model Illinois Government Simulation (MIG) held Feb. 26-March 1 in the Illinois State Capitol Complex. 

Wheetley, a Murphysboro native, was one of five students in the SIU delegation. Jeremiah E. Walker (Litchfield) joined him on the moot court. Brian Chapman, executive assistant for external affairs in the Office of the President, was the faculty adviser for the delegation. This is SIU’s second appearance at the MIG. 

The competitive moot court included 18 teams of two moot court attorneys competing over a three-day period, during which they argued cases in front of attorneys and retired judges, as well as student justices. Moot court attorneys receive scores based on presentation and on their knowledge of the facts in the cases before them. 

Wheetley has been to the MIG twice before -- in 2013 with John A. Logan College when SIU did not send a delegation, and last year. In 2013, he was Moot Court Top Novice. Last year, with the first SIU delegation, he was part of the Moot Court team that made it to the quarter finals, which includes only the top eight teams. 

The Moot Court, though, is just one part of the government simulation. The legislative simulation includes students playing the roles of legislators, lobbyists, journalists, budget analysts, and other positions, with assigned political parties and districts. Students also serve on simulated legislative committees according to their expressed interests. During the simulation weekend, students may campaign for executive board positions for the next year, including governor, attorney general and secretary of state. 

SIU members of the House of Representatives at the MIG were: Wyatt J. Humrichous (Chrisman); Marissa Jackson (Macomb); and Jake Mitchell (Springfield)

“My experience as a first year delegate was very rewarding,” Jackson said. “My favorite part of the experience was having the opportunity to debate in the Judiciary Committee. I have worked on the other side of the fence, as an intern for a lobbyist in Springfield, so it was very nice having the chance to simulate the legislative process.” 

This MIG was the fourth one for Mitchell, who also attended as a student at Lincoln Land Community College before transferring to SIU. “I had a great experience this year,” he said. “Dr. Chapman was an excellent and helpful faculty adviser.”