Campus groups, professors celebrate Constitution Day with various events
The MSU community celebrated United States Constitution Day on Tuesday with activities that honored the nation’s founding document in both serious and light-hearted ways.
Constitution Day, originally known as Citizenship Day, commemorates the day the Constitution originally was signed. It was named a federal holiday in 2004.
Members of MSU Campus Conservatives constructed a large wooden board in front of the rock on Farm Lane and invited students to write whatever they liked on the board, deeming it a “free speech wall.”
Public policy junior Lisa Jankowski said the wall was constructed to celebrate the freedom of speech, the Constitution’s First Amendment.
“Anything they want, they can write it,” Jankowski said.
“Just to prove that we do have our rights … Just to celebrate a little bit. It’s completely nonpartisan.”
By mid-afternoon, the wall was adorned with a wide variety of messages from obscenities, personal anecdotes and political messages to students’ favorite sports teams.
Throughout the day, members of Campus Conservatives also passed out pamphlets containing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which were a gift from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington, D.C. think tank.
Tuesday afternoon, James Madison College hosted a roundtable discussion featuring several professors from both the University of Michigan and MSU to explore the constitutional and statutory limits of presidential power.
MSU panel members consisted of Michael Lawrence, a professor in MSU College of Law and Benjamin Kleinerman, an associate professor of constitutional democracy in James Madison College. U-M was represented by assistant professors in law and political science.
Political theory and constitutional democracy and international relations senior Joel Cortright said the event helped contextualize the Constitution in the modern world.
“I think (the event) provides a little bit of a broader discussion as to how the Constitution still applies to us … (and) how we can still be active in these present-day issues that we have.”
Kleinerman said he hoped the event provoked students in attendance to ask questions about the Constitution.
“I’d say one of the more important questions in the present is the limits of presidential power. So many of the questions of presidential power are Constitutional questions,” said Kleinerman, who chose the topic of the discussion. “Our Constitution’s perhaps the most important thing the U.S. has done.”