Precedent for centuries to come

We the people of Sam Houston State will once again have the chance to celebrate a day not only monumental to the foundation of our country, but a day that is precedent for centuries to come, as it integrates its way into the halls of higher education.

Constitution Day is a Federal mandate, honoring the signing of the constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Senator Robert Byrd incorporated this obligation into the Omnibus Spending Bill of 2004, stating,”All educational institutions that receives federal funds for a fiscal year should hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17.”

As a federally funded university, SHSU is required by law to host the event; however, there are also essentially four sponsors: the Department of History, Clinical Science, Dean John DeCastro of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the SHSU Democratic Project.

Last week, the celebration was held on campus over a span of two days from Sept. 16-17, for the third year at SHSU.

Sept. 16 marked the first day of observances, with Dr. Dorothy McClellan from TAMU giving a presentation on “The Constitution & American Prisons, Foreign and Domestic.”

The lecture was then followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Melinda Kovcs.

“I thought she did a wonderful job with her topic,” said event coordinator Frank Fair.

The celebration continued on Sept. 17 at 9:30 a.m. with four, 1hr and 20 minute presentations on various topics.

Dr. Mike Vaughn, of the Criminal Justice department began the day with the reading of the preamble of the Constitution and his lecture on “First Amendment Rights in Criminal Justice.”

At 11:00 a.m., Dr. Jeff Littlejohn, of the history department, gave a presentation on “What’ s the Story’: A Constitution Day Mystery.” A lecture on “The Second Amendment and Guns on Campus: An Interactive Session,” by Dr. Melinda Kovcs at 12:30 p.m. was followed by the last presentation of the day, Dr. John Domino’s “The Supreme Court as a Cultural Tribunal: The Supreme Court’s Role in Our Diverse Culture.”

Fair said they ended the celebration with a record crowd about of 120 people at Domino’s lecture.

Along with titillating details about live interpretation and applicable stats on the Constitution, a free copy of the Oxford University Press The United States Constitution: What It Says, What It Means: A Hip Pocket Guide was given to each attendee.

Frank Fair said plans are already being made in regards to next years Constitution Day Celebration.

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