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UNG marks Constitution Day on Sept. 17

Constitution Day
UNG President Bonita Jacobs proclaimed Sept. 17 as Constitution Day across the university's five campuses.

On Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a group of 39 delegates representing 12 states signed a document that they thought optimistically might last a generation and would satisfy the immediate needs of a new nation. This year the U.S. Constitution, which has inspired the creation of democracies around the world, marks 231 years.

To mark the occasion, University of North Georgia (UNG) President Bonita Jacobs proclaimed Sept. 17 as Constitution Day across the university's five campuses.

"It is fitting and proper to officially recognize this document that is the foundation of the U.S. government and represents the ideals of life, liberty and freedom. The University of North Georgia commemorates this historic day through educational activities and by encouraging civic engagement among our students, faculty and staff," Jacobs wrote in the proclamation. "I … ask our faculty, staff and students to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the Constitution had in 1787."

Jeffrey Yaun of Buford, Georgia, president of the Politically Incorrect Club on UNG's Gainesville Campus, said Constitution Day is an important reminder of a document that is the framework for our nation.

"It is not necessarily a visible part of our daily lives and it is easy to forget what it really is, or how it came to be," said the senior who is majoring in psychology. "Constitution Day presents us an opportunity to re-emphasize the importance of our nation's framework and bolster the informed citizenry necessary to maintain a free and democratic society."

Students, professors and organizations in UNG’s Department of Political Science and International Affairs are partnering with other groups to hold Constitution Day events.

On Sept. 17, the Gainesville Student Government Association and the History Club, with assistance from the Politically Incorrect Club, will hold a Constitution Day event from noon to 1 p.m. in the Student Center commons and stage area. The groups will hand out U.S. Constitution booklets and voter registration forms. The brochures contain the Constitution, and have the American Declaration of Independence and many quotes from various Founding Fathers.

Yaun also noted the many ways that, even if we don't realize it, the U.S. Constitution affects our daily lives.

"The Commerce Clause gives the federal government the authority to oversee interstate commerce, and Sections 8/10 maintain a national currency rather than individual state currencies," Yaun said. "Imagine trying to purchase something on from Arizona if you had to deal with currency exchange rates and tariffs on its transport. Many people could probably point to an impact on their daily life from the First Amendment, but what about the Fourth? The proscription of warrant-less search and seizure keeps us free from government overreach into our homes and persons and is the source of what is commonly referred to as the 'right to privacy.'"

It's that right to privacy that was the subject of a Sept. 12 Crossfire discussion hosted by the Political Science Student Association on the Dahlonega Campus, which explored the topic "Freedom versus Security." The Sept. 19 Crossfire discussion with guest speaker Dr. Scott Meachum, assistant professor of political science at UNG, will focus on one of the four freedoms outlined in the First Amendment: "Free Speech on Campus." The discussion starts at noon in the second-floor lobby of Young Hall.

On Sept. 17 on the Oconee Campus, the American Democracy Project (ADP) will welcome Superior Court Judge David Sweat at noon in Room 522 to discuss "Should We Rewrite the Constitution?" ADP is a multi-campus initiative focused on higher education's role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for the democracy. ADP's goal is to produce graduates who are committed to being active, involved citizens in their communities.

Also on Sept. 17, students on the Cumming Campus can attend a Crossfire discussion from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 125. The Blue Ridge Campus will be holding voter registration drives on Sept. 17 for its students.

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