September 12, 2012

Constitution Day events set at SIU Carbondale

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The SIU School of Law and Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will host events next week that focus on the nation’s Constitution.

Constitution Day is Monday, Sept. 17.  The day marks the 225th anniversary of delegates to the Philadelphia Convention completing and signing the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

All events are free and open to the public.  All educational institutions that receive federal funding must annually deliver programs on the U.S. Constitution.

Faculty and students in the SIU School of Law will present a series on First Amendment protections to mark Constitution Day on Sept. 17.  The presentation, “What does the First Amendment Protect?” begins at 12:30 p.m. in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building auditorium. 

After opening remarks by Dean Cynthia L. Fountaine, faculty and students will discuss eight separate topics relating to the First Amendment.  The presentations will include a look at what the First Amendment has to do with the practice of law; conflicting traditions of religion and the Pledge of Allegiance in Illinois’ public schools; exceptions to the First Amendment after a recent Tennessee-based federal case involving a student prohibited from wearing Confederate emblazoned clothes to school; and adolescent identity in public schools.

The presenters are law school faculty Cindy Buys, Valerie Munson, and Steve Macias.  The student presenters are Brian Lee, SIU Law Journal editor and third-year student from Lincoln; Veronika Jones, a third-year law student from Clinton; Alexandra Brown, SIU Law Journal managing editor and third-year law student from Mount Vernon; Joseph Cervantez, a third-year law student from Carterville; and Christine Ladwig, a third-year law student from Pensacola, Fla.

More information on the event and the presentations is available at

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, a demonstration debate featuring two members of the SIU Carbondale Debate Team is set at 3 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium.  The debate will focus on the question of whether the nation should eliminate the Electoral College.  Joshua Rivera, a sophomore in political science from Chicago and Sid Rehg, a junior in speech communication from Swansea, will debate the issue.

Rivera and Rehg finished third at the 2012 National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, the equivalent in debate of national championships, in March.

A free reception hosted by the library’s Special Collections Research Center will follow the demonstration debate.