The EKU Department of Government Celebrates Constitution Day! 2014
Every year, EKU Celebrates Constitution Day on September 17. The entire week is a time to think about the Constitution and why it is important to Americans even today, 227 years after it was written. The celebrations began on Monday, September 15, which was also the International Day of Democracy. Dr. Ozan Kalkan, a new faculty member in the Department of Government, spoke about the differences between the United States Constitution and the Constitution of his native Turkey. A particularly interesting comparison is that elections in Turkey are held in schools and overseen by educators who are seen as neutral observers.
Events for the week continued on Tuesday, with guest speaker Jeff Burdette, the Chief Regional Circuit Judge for the Cumberland Region. Judge Burdette spoke of the importance of the Constitution to his work as a judge and to students who live under it –and punctuated his stories about the Constitution with tweet-length paraphrases of Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention. In the afternoon, Professors Jane Rainey, Daniel Bennett, and Matthew Howell held a panel discussion, moderated by Professor Meena Mohanty, on John Paul Stevens’ recent book Six Amendments, which proposed several amendments to the Constitution. The discussion ranged from allowing the Federal Government to command state governments to do certain things (the students were opposed) to banning the death penalty (which was more mixed) and allowing more regulation of campaign advertisements (which the students supported).
Constitution Day itself was recognized with proclamations by the City of Richmond, represented by Mayor Pro-Tem Robert Blythe and Eastern Kentucky University, represented by Marc Whitt; followed by a concert by John Rush, known as the Human iPod. The Student Court handed out pocket US and Kentucky Constitutions, candy which was thematically related to the Constitution’s provisions, and Student Life set up a patriotic-themed tie-dye station to create unique Constitution Day shirts.
Finally, the celebrations came to a close on Thursday with the keynote address for Constitution Week and Hispanic Heritage month. Dr. Luis H. Zayas is a social worker and advocate for immigrant rights. He spoke about his research into Latino suicide, especially those of citizen children whose undocumented parents could be deported and argued that current laws violate the constitutional rights of these citizens.
Throughout the week, EKU also had voter registration booths set up around campus.
The EKU Department of Government celebrates Constitution Day every year around September 17. For more information and photos on this and previous Constitution Days, see our archive.
*This webpage is to comply with Federal regulations regarding the celebration and publicizing of Constitution Day.