Students embrace rights during Constitution Week

Franklin senior Brittany Belcher takes part in a Q&A about Title IX, equal rights protection, and separation of powers during Constitution week on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in DSU. Kathryn Ziesig/HERALD

Kylie Carlson

Individual rights and protections will be the topic of discussion during the annual “Constitution Week 2016 Celebration” event.

According to Saundra Ardrey, associate professor and department head for the department of political science, the government mandates the celebration of the Constitution on Sept. 17, but WKU had another idea in mind.

“We at WKU decided instead of one day a week, we would celebrate for the entire week,” Ardrey said.

The law establishing the celebration of the Constitution passed in 2004, and WKU has been celebrating with a week long event since then.

One of the sponsors for the event, which Ardrey is the coordinator of, is the Political Engagement Project on campus.

“The Political Engagement Project was set in place to help ensure students have the necessary skills and become well-informed citizens,” Ardrey said.

There are four main sessions for students to engage in planned this week.

Tuesday included “Title IX, Equal Protection, and Seperation of Powers: What We Talk About When We Talk About Trans-bathroom Laws.” The interactive talk was hosted by Patricia Minter, associate professor in the history department.

Minter commented in an email on this specific issue saying that it fits in with the constitution week.

“Trans-bathroom bills fit perfectly with Constitution Week because these laws directly challenge the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause,” Minter said in an email. “There are also significant questions about whether or not state governors or attorneys general can sue the Obama Administration over its Title IX directive (separation of powers issue).”

Minter hopes students will not only learn about the constitution from this, but also about the social issues surrounding them.

“I hope students learned something and will continue to think critically about rights, particularly protecting those for marginalized groups,” Minter said in an email. “Social issues are certainly legal issues as well.”

Wednesday was the Study Abroad Fair and the Pizza and Politics Series.

The Study Abroad Fair, hosted in the Preston Center, was geared toward becoming a global citizen.

The Pizza and Politics Series included pizza and a discussion about how the Supreme Court might look if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency. The discussion was hosted by Jeff Budziak, assistant professor in the political science department.

Friday is the birthday party. Held in the front lawn of Grise Hall, students can register to vote, meet other students from both College Republicans and College Democrats, learn about this year’s candidates for president and party stances and get free food.

There will be free hot dogs, potato chips and cookies in order to celebrate the signing of the United States Constitution with a traditional American barbecue.

“We are entitled to understanding our rights, and we hope to show students this throughout the ‘Celebrate the Constitution Week,'” Ardrey said.

Reporter Kylie Carlson can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @kentuckylie.