Constitution Day to Educate Students

Cedarville is hosting a two-hour event to celebrate Constitution Day and educate students about the document’s importance.

Mark Smith, associate professor of political science, said the event will feature Brad Jacob, a professor of constitutional law at Regent University. Smith said Jacob has come to Cedarville multiple times over the last several years.

“He also has academic expertise in religion and the Constitution,” Smith said. “So he often talks about religion, religious freedom in light of the First Amendment.”

Jacob’s presentation is part of the Center for Political Studies’ annual Constitution Day event as part of a federally mandated remembrance day, set aside by Congress. According to the Library of Congress, Congress set aside Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Congress wanted the memorial to educate Americans on their opportunities and duties as American citizens.

In 2004, Congress modified the law, adding two new requirements and changing the name to “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.” One requirement said schools receiving federal funds must host programming for students on Sept. 17 as a commemoration.

Smith said schools approach the celebration differently. Some schools, he said, read the Constitution as part of their commemoration. But the singular goal of the different celebrations is to enlighten students.

“I think Constitution Day is good because it can get students who maybe aren’t in political science or aren’t in pre-law or aren’t in the kind of a major that deals with the Constitution very often and it brings the Constitution to their notice and it helps them understand, hopefully, that the Constitution is an extremely important document,” Smith said. “And because of that, we should understand it, not just simply celebrate it, but understand it. And so to me, anything we can do to aid in the understanding of the Constitution is for the better.”

Cedarville has approached these requirements by either holding large events for the surrounding communities or, as in this year, small events for students and faculty.

“Last year, we had Mike Huckabee on campus for a really big event,” Smith said. “This year, we’re not doing a really big event. We’re just having a lecturer come in.”

Cedarville hosted Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff under George W. Bush, in 2011, as well as former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in 2013. Generally, Smith said, Cedarville has had external speakers, such as local judges and professors like Jacob, speak about their view of the Constitution.

Although the event is significantly smaller this year, Smith said he believes Jacob will provide students with the education and information they desire.

“Students are sometimes going to struggle to understand the speakers, because if they’re not really aware of the Constitution very much, they might not fully understand what’s being said,” Smith said. “Someone like Professor Jacob will do a good job at making everything understandable and hopefully interesting.”

The event will be held at 7 p.m., Sept. 18, in the Center for Biblical and Theological Studies (BTS) room 104.

Emily Finlay is a senior journalism major and campus news editor for Cedars. She loves writing, reading, making obscure references in normal conversation and every type of geekery.

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