Constitution Day to teach students about the First Amendment



By Alex Brinkhorst

UK will celebrate the 226th anniversary of the United States Constitution Monday with several events discussing the historic document and the rights it gives American citizens.

Directed by Matthew Giancarlo, an associate English professor, Constitution Day will feature seven main events, including an undergraduate essay contest and a Town Hall Forum on Safe Spaces and the First Amendment, according to a post on Undergraduate Education’s website.

“The idea of the panel is so that we can get people from diverse perspectives of the university to weigh in on it,” Scott Bauries, a professor of law and the panel’s First Amendment expert.  

Constitution Day’s overall theme is the First Amendment, and the “Freedom of Expression, Identity and the U.S. Constitution,” according to UK Now’s website.

The essay contest’s prompt focus is on the First Amendment. The prompt asks contestants to discuss the constitutionality of flag burning, along with a Supreme Court 2010 ruling that political campaign donations are free speech, the website said.

Other events include  “A Thin Veneer of Law: The Modern Evolution of Supreme Court Decisions on Gender and Sexuality,” at 11:00 a.m. in William T. Young Library, which will focus on the LGBT Community and the Right to Privacy, the Undergraduate Education website said.

The “International Perspectives of Freedom of Speech” at 12:30 p.m., also at William T. Young Library, a speech by Ambassador Anupam Ray of the Indian Consulate, will focus on freedom of expression and the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment but with an international perspective.

From noon to 3:00 p.m. at Whitehall Classroom Building, refreshments such as lemonade and apple pie will be given out, as well as pocket-sized Constitutions. The UK Student Government Association will give out information on TurboVote.

The service is designed to provide easy-to-access voter registration tools, and students who register will be placed in a drawing for a UK swag bag from the university bookstore, the website said.

Also at Whitehall, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., “The First Amendment: The Patriotism of Protest” will take place, where students will discuss issues of the First Amendment.