September 11, 2015

Constitution-related events planned at SIU

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A debate on Fifth Amendment protections and a discussion on how the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed the right to education, especially as it applies to undocumented immigrants, are among the activities next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale that focus on the nation’s Constitution. 

Constitution Day is Sept. 17.  The day marks the 228th anniversary of delegates to the Philadelphia Convention completing and signing the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. 

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

A pre-Constitution Day demonstration debate featuring two members of SIU’s championship debate team will take place 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 15, in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium. The debate, sponsored by the Friends of Morris Library, will examine whether civil asset forfeiture laws or indefinite detention violate the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause. Bobby Swetz, a freshman in economics, will face Arielle Stephenson, a senior in business. Team members Ben Reid, a graduate student in speech communication, and Zach Schneider, a May 2015 graduate in computer science, are assistant coaches this year and will cross-examine Swetz and Stephenson with tough questions between speeches.

After the debate, which will last less than an hour, there will be a meet-and-greet with the national championship debate team. Light refreshments will be available.

At 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, the SIU School of Law will host “The DACA Experience: Latinos and the Right to Education” in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building Courtroom. The program will include a videoconference presentation by immigration advocate Dulce Matuz, one of Time magazine’s “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” for 2012 due to her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) story. An undocumented Latina who came to the United States when she was young, Matuz graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in electrical engineering, and is on the board of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. Professor Cindy Buys and student leaders of the Hispanic Law Students Association will lead a discussion on how the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed the right-to-education and its application to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. 

Morris Library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. government documents and has been serving as the largest Federal Depository Library in Southern Illinois since 1932. The library’s government documents are open to the general public and not limited to university faculty, staff and students. The library has a Special Collections Research Center that houses the political papers of several significant local, regional, state and national politicians and political appointees, as well as the records of several regional governmental and political advocacy organizations. More information on the library’s government documents is available at and political papers at