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The Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland to Hold Constitution Day Event


September 12, 2012
Press Release #12-101

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In celebration of the 225th anniversary of the Constitution, St. Mary’s College of Maryland Professors Chuck Holden and Jeffrey Lamar Coleman will explain how the First and Fourteenth Amendments have impacted the academic community, with focus on academic freedoms and civil rights. The Constitution Day event will occur at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 17, at the college’s Cole Cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

Professors will specifically discuss how the Fourteenth Amendment of 1868 impacted the idea of American citizenry, especially for African Americans, and later served as the basis for the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education decision; the monumental decision that rendered segregated public educational institutions unconstitutional and serves as an impetus for the modern-day civil rights movement.

“Ratified in the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment allows for a flow of opinions within the United States,” said Holden. “However, the First Amendment rights are not absolute, especially when applied to academia. Given the history of the First Amendment and given our current political climate, the members of the academic community should not assume that the First Amendment would cover all aspects of academic freedom.” 

Michael Cain, professor and director for the Center for the Study of Democracy noted the importance of this event at the college:  “Constitution Day allows us to reflect on the importance of our constitution and how it influenced the fabric of our society, as well as how our amendments are interpreted and experienced at different times during our history. Professors Holden and Coleman will emphasize very different time periods.”

Holden is a professor of history at St. Mary’s and author of “The New Southern University: Academic Freedom and Liberalism at UNC.” Coleman is an associate professor of English at St. Mary’s. His poetry and essays have appeared in several publications including “Blue Mesa Review,” “Black Bear Review,” “Brilliant Corners: a Journal of Jazz and Literature,” “Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century, and Critical Essays on Alice Walker.”

For ten years the Center for the Study of Democracy has been committed to promoting education and discussion on both policy and political issues of interest to St. Mary's College of Maryland and the wider Maryland community. The Center regularly hosts political discussions with government officials and political candidates, public political debates, as well as conferences and forums on important policy issues. The Center for the Study of Democracy has celebrated Constitution day since its inception, highlighting the evolving nature of the U.S. Constitution. 

For more information please contact Kristen Bergery, program assistant, Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Office: (240)-895-6432, Email: kabergery@smcm.edu.