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IUSB celebrates constitution week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The U.S. Constitution has been the law of the land for more than 230 years. Courts look to it when making decisions. 

Professors at IUSB say it's important for people to understand the words in this document as the courts become more and more at the center of public policy debates, so IUSB is hosting Constitution Week. 

The week long event celebrates the constitution and educates people about it. Throughout the week there will be a series of what's called "Difficult dialogues." These discussions will look at topics like immigration, free speech, and guns on campus.

Dr. Elizabeth Bennion, a political professor at IUSB, says this week is meant to look at and think about those words in the constitution and the historical context in which they were written, and then analyze what those words mean for public policy today.

"It's not just a dead document that was written a long time ago," said Bennion. "It's a critical document that continues to affect our rights and responsibilities as citizens today. And so, we need to know more about it and think about these important policy debates."

Bennion stresses that all events are open to everyone in the community. She hopes to see people with different political beliefs take part in this week. 

"How does the Constitution actually, how does it protect you?" said IUSB senior Casey Johnson. "What are your rights listed under the Constitution? I think that's important first of all to know what you're options are in this country, what you're entitled to and how to, I guess use the Constitution to work toward your American dream." 

Here are a list of Constitution Week events: 

  • Constitution Day Webinar #1

        Monday, September 17, Alumni Room, Administration Building, 2nd floor, top-of-stairs

        Is the Electoral College Good for America?: Professor George C. Edward III (Texas A&M) will evaluate a range of claims made about the electoral college in a rigorous and nonpartisan manner. A brief time for in-person discussion will follow our collective viewing of the webinar. Discussion will be led by Dr. Elizabeth Bennion (Professor of Political Science).

  • Constitution Day Webinar #2

        Monday, September 17, Alumni Room, Administration Building, 2nd floor, top-of-stairs

        Gerrymandering versus Representing Everyone Fairly Under the Constitution: Professor Keith Gaddy (University of Oklahoma) will discuss the forms of gerrymandering, the consequences of gerrymandering, the limits of legal challenges, and what other solutions are available to the American public to get better legislative representation and tame the mapmakers. A brief in-person discussion will follow our collective viewing of the webinar. Discussion will be led by Elizabeth Bennion, (Professor of Political Science).

  • Constitution Week Coffee & Conversation Series: Event 1, Tuesday, September 18

       Fireside Room by the Grill/Cafeteria - 8:30-9:30 A.M.

       Free Speech or Hate Speech? How do we protect speech on college campuses?: Participants will consider recent headlines from campuses across the nation as they participate in a moderated discussion about free speech on college campuses and consider best practices for local campuses, including Indiana University South Bend. Let’s talk about what the First Amendment means – or should mean -- today! Join us for bagels, fruit, juice, coffee, & conversation.

  • Constitution Week Coffee & Conversation Series: Event 2, Wednesday, September 19

       Fireside Room by the Grill/Cafeteria - 8:30-9:30 A.M.

       Guns on Campus: Increased Safety or Increased Risk?: Should we allow guns on campus? Participants will consider recent headlines from campuses across the nation as they participate in a moderated discussion about guns on campus and learn about state laws & campus policies across the country, including here at IU South Bend. Let’s chat about the 2nd Amendment and what it means – or should mean -- today!

  • Constitution Week Coffee & Conversation Series: Event 3, Thursday, September 20

       Fireside Room by the Grill/Cafeteria - 8:30-9:30 A.M.

       Does the Constitution Apply to Immigrants?: Participants will learn what the Supreme Court has said about how the U.S. Constitution applies to naturalized citizens, legal residents, and undocumented immigrants as we consider recent government actions toward immigrants and immigration policy. Join us for a conversation with immigration attorney Lisa Koop followed by time for Q&A.

  • Constitution Week Film: 13th – Friday, September 21, Community Building, River Crossing Student Housing – 6:30 – 9:00 P.M.

       Movie Night: 13th: Participants will screen the thought-provoking documentary exploring the history of race and the criminal justice system in the United States. The film's title refers to the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery in the United States, granting freedom to all Americans, excluding criminals. Viewers are challenged to consider how criminalization and incarceration are used as a form of racial control akin to slavery. Stay for a discussion of this thought-provoking film!



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