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UMPI celebrates Constitution Day

Friday, 11 September 2009

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will celebrate the 222nd birthday of the signing of the U.S. Constitution with a special presentation on the First Amendment.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, from 11 a.m. to Noon, students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to observe Constitution Day by gathering in the University's Campus Center for a panel discussion on the First Amendment followed by a question and answer session.

Leading the panel presentation will be President Don Zillman, a nationally known expert on constitutional law; Dr. William Davidshofer, Professor of Political Science at UMPI; and Dr. Brent Andersen, a political scientist and a lecturer at the University whose area of specialty is American government.

They will discuss the history of the amendment and how those rights have been exercised over the years, and talk about recent news events that illustrate how First Amendment rights are asserted and challenged today.

Miniature versions of the U.S. Constitution will be distributed during the event.

Congress designated September 17 as Constitution Day - a national celebration of our country's founding document - to commemorate the Sept. 17, 1787 signing of the Constitution. In 2004, Congress passed a spending bill that included a provision requiring every school and college that receives federal money to teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, with a grace period should that day fall on a weekend or conflict with established schedules.

To provide education to the entire campus community - including those who cannot attend the presentation - the University will install a display on the first floor of the Library featuring information about the Constitution. As well, anyone logging onto the university's homepage can click on the Constitution Day box, which will lead them to www.constitutioncenter.org/constitution/. The site features an interactive version of the Constitution.

The panel discussion is a free event and the public is invited to attend. For more information, call 768-9452.