Prof. Howard Tolley



  • Availability: Year round for Sunday worship services, program lectures, and seminars or workshops at Ohio UU congregations


  • Fee: Negotiable and depends on distance traveled, number of services, size of congregation, and standard compensation paid to similarly qualified pulpit speakers. Home hospitality may be needed, depending on distance. See OMD guidelines.

About Prof. Howard Tolley


UUJO Executive Director. Profesor Emeritus, University of Cincinnati, 2012-13 Co-Chair UU Justice Ohio, and Social Justice Chair, St. John's UU Church, Cincinnati.


Prior to retirement in 2011, Howard Tolley served as a professor of Political Science and adjunct professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati where, for 27 years, he taught undergraduate and graduate public law courses including classes on the US legal system, civil liberties, and international human rights. He has conducted numerous worship services at four UU congregations in the Cincinnati/Dayton area tha can be found in the St. John's UU online archive and, as a cooperating attorney serves on the ACLU of Ohio speakers bureau.


He serves as a labor arbitrator, mediator, and fact finder for the Federal Mediation and Concilliation Service, the American Arbitration Association, and the Ohio State Employment Relations Board. As a faculty organization leader at Wilberforce University, he provided leadership during an NLRB representation election, negotiations on the initial contract, and implementation of a grievance procedure.


His scholarly publications include three sole authored books, ten Encyclopedia articles, and the award winning Teaching Human Rights Online (THRO). Further information can be found on his website




  1. UUJO – Standing on the Side of Justice in Ohio - On its second anniversary, UU Justice Ohio convened a Justice Assembly and organized a Get Smart on Crime  Rally in Columbus supported by faith based, labor, professional associations, community based and rights organizations.  Ohio’s 5,000 UUs and 38 Congregations from separate UU regions/districts now have an established statewide advocacy network working on immigration, environment, LGBTQ, economic rights, criminal justice, reproductive choice, and racial justice.  UUJO Co-Chair Howard Tolley will assess the November 8, 2014 JA and statehouse rally and identify UUJO plans, priorities and needs for the coming year.

  2. ImmigrationMelting Pot, Rainbow, or Mosaic?  21st Century U.S. Immigration - Competing visions of our national identity pit proponents of immigrants’ full assimilation against multiculturalists who promote ethnic subgroups.  Should UUs “standing on the side of love” work for an integrationist common ground?  How can Ohio UUs promote immigrant friendly cities?  October 9, 2011

  3. Racial Justice

    1. Education or Agitation for Racial Justice? For over four centuries, black Americans have been victimized by a succession of US institutions – slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration and more. UU Justice Ohio Executive Director and lay community minister Howard Tolley will present alternative responses to the systemic violence against people of color most recently involving the deaths of John Crawford in Beavercreek, 12 year old Tamir Rice and others in Cleveland. How should UUs respond to the Black Lives Matter and related movements that demand changes by America’s white majority?  Online audio and text.

    2. From Segregation to Incarceration - In four decades since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. the U.S. has subjected a large and growing sub caste of African American men to unprecedented rates of incarceration for non-violent drug offenses, the “New Jim Crow.”  Instead of the moratorium on prison construction advocated in the 1960s, state and privately operated prisons have multiplied and become profit centers.  What can UUs do to remedy institutional racism in Ohio’s prison system and to ensure employment for citizens returning from prison?  January 20, 2013

  4. Peacemaking - UU Pacifist Doves and Humanitarian Hawks. Preparation of the UU Statement of Conscience on Peacemaking revealed principled differences over whether to endorse humanitarian intervention to stop genocide.  Pacifist members favored a statement would have aligned UUs with other peace churches promoting the rights of conscientious objectors and apposing all violent responses to conflict.  As on other contested justice issues, the UU democratic process engages passionate activists who struggle to find common ground.  March 11, 2007.

  5. Voting Rights/Fair ElectionsLiberal Religion, Election Fraud, and Voter Suppression. In the 2012 Presidential election, Ohio became ground zero in the disputes between Republicans and Democrats over allegations of voter fraud and political gerrymanders with several lawsuits and a November 6 referendum on whether to create a non-partisan commission for redistricting.  Should UUs bearing “prophetic witness” advocate liberal religious values in partisan election year disputes over Ohio laws that create new election districts, reduce early voting, obstruct voting by college students and make it more difficult to promote a referendum?  Has our democratic process and sound analysis followed in giving UU support for the Move to Amend the US Constitution denying personhood to for profit corporations and ending first Amendment protection for campaign expenditures?