Events pay tribute to founding document
Published: Monday, September 16, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 00:09
The Office of the Provost will celebrate the 226th anniversary of the United States Constitution with a week of planned activities all across campus.
The week will include an exhibit on the Constitution at Evans Library, a Constitution Day display at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the Wiley Lecture Series Constitution Day Forum “Drone Warfare and the Constitution.”
Pursuant to legislation passed by Congress, any educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution annually on Sept. 17, the date the Constitution was signed in 1787.
Nancy Sawtelle, director of public relations at the Office of the Provost, said the Office will hold a whole week of great opportunities to read, study and reflect on the document.
“The Provost’s office convenes a committee that represents campus and community organizations that have expressed an interest in participating in the observance of Constitution Week,” Sawtelle said. “The Provost’s office then coordinates publicity about the events that these organizations have planned.”
On the official Constitution Day, exhibits will be opened in Evans, Medical Sciences, West Campus and the Policy Science and Economics Libraries that will continue through Sept. 23.
Sawtelle said she recommended dropping by any of the exhibits or venues to pick up a free pocket Constitution.
“It’s not a long document, but it is important to know what it says,” Sawtelle said.
Augmenting the week of events, the MSC Wiley Lecture Series, a student-run organization responsible for bringing speakers such as Colin Powell and Margaret Thatcher to A&M, will host a forum relevant to the Constitution as it does nearly every year, said Tucker Pope, junior business honors major and a chair of the MSC Wiley Lecture Series.
The event, titled “Drone Warfare and the Constitution,” will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in room 2406A of the Memorial Student Center.
“This year the lecture will focus on the constitutionality of drone strikes on U.S citizens that have been deemed enemy combatants, which takes away those citizens’ Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” Pope said.
Speakers Richard Rosen, professor of law and director of the Center for Military Law and Policy at Texas Tech University; and Ronald Sievert, director of the Advanced International Affairs Program at The Bush School at Texas A&M, will raise questions on the topic, said Reid Geissen, director of Main Program with the Wiley Lecture Series and sophomore philosophy major.
“This program is not seeking to convince people that one side of the issue is better than the other,” Geissen said. “We want people to either come to their own conclusion or to the conclusion that there is no one side that is totally correct.”
Senior political science major, Bryce Buchman, said it is necessary for people to learn more about the Constitution and take advantage of the events this week.
“A lot of people don’t know what rights the Constitution grants them, and the people who think they do usually don’t have a good grasp on them,” Buchmann said. “It’s a responsibility as a citizen to learn more about it.”
According to the Office of the Provost, the Texas A&M band will also pay tribute to the Constitution during the halftime show at the A&M-SMU game Saturday and the University will take part in the nationwide initiative “Bells Across America” by playing patriotic music at 3 p.m from the Albritton Tower Carillon.