Panel to teach about First Amendment

Samuel Nusbaum, Administration Reporter

A panel of professors will discuss a wide variety of topics such as political protests and what it means to exercise one’s freedom of religion for this year’s Constitution Day.

The panel is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the Lumpkin Auditorium.

Constitution Day is a nationally recognized day meant to show how complex the Constitution is and how important it is to understand.

Richard Wandling, chair of the political science department, will be on the panel along with political science professor Karen Swenson and journalism professor Lola Burnham.

The Society for Collegiate Journalists, the Pre-Law Society and the Political Science Association are in charge of planning this panel.

Wandling said the groups have been talking to each other and have come up with a list of topics to ask questions about.

This year, the discussion will be focused on the First Amendment.

Discussion topics will range from flag burning as a form of political protest, Internet neutrality and Internet access.

Topics will even include events that affect the university, such as when preachers come on campus to share their views and controversies associated with it.

Wandling said national controversies, such as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, will also be talked about.

Wandling said while there are different opinions on the action itself, this is part of living in a democratic society.

People will exercise their freedoms in ways others will not agree with, but people need to appreciate and understand it, Wandling said.

Wandling said it is important to help students understand the Constitution because it will help them understand issues that affect them on campus and in general.

“We live in an era where we see some disturbing examples of where basic freedoms and rights may not be fully appreciated,” Wandling said. “This is our one little opportunity to contribute to some civil discourse and meaningful discourse.”

Wandling said the students are the real driving force of the panel, since they are the ones coming up with the questions and who are interested in the topic.

Something Wandling hopes people will take away from the panel is an appreciation of how difficult it is to interpret the Constitution and how important it is to have discussions about it.


Samuel Nusbaum can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].