The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Dusting off the Constitution

When Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., was lobbying to make Constitution Day a national holiday, he lamented that more teenagers know the Three Stooges than the first three words of the preamble to the Constitution.

In an attempt to educate the American public about its history, Congress and the president signed into law on Dec. 8, 2004, a bill that made Sept. 17 Constitution Day.

Southern Methodist University celebrated the holiday last year and continued the tradition Monday when it held ceremonies in the Hughes-Trigg Commons, though a smattering of people showed up.

A video created last year by broadcast journalism students was aired again at 12:25 p.m. John Gibson, creative director for university events, said he re-used the tape for a reason.

“It was so good, but a lot of people didn’t see it because it only ran on SMU TV,” he said.

The video included coverage of the government mandate requiring schools to teach about the Constitution on a prescribed day. Reporters interviewed history professor Ed Countryman, political science professor Cal Jillson and law professor Linda Eads.

The video also addressed the importance of the 14th amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees equal rights and protection for all races under U.S. law.

After the presentation, SMU’s student representative to the board of trustees Liz Healy read a brief introduction to another video, this one put together by an outside Constitutional foundation, according to Gibson.

The video featured Colin Powell reading the Preamble along with a slideshow of state flags. As part of Constitution Day, the preamble was to be read by people throughout the U.S. at 2 p.m. EST.

“The idea was … [that] across the nation do the event at the same time,” said Gibson.

Katy Rowe, a senior English and anthropology major, was one of the handful of people who attended.

She said she thought the ceremonies left a little to be desired.

“I wish they did more,” she said, explaining that she thought last year’s event drew more people.

Healy said she thought of the ceremonies as “a great opportunity for the university community to come together and celebrate the U.S. Constitution.”

“It would be great if more students were here to celebrate,” she said, “but it’s great that SMU is taking part in the celebration.”

Gibson agreed.

“I think it’s good that we celebrate the Constitution and take time to look at it,” he said.

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