Southern celebrates Constitution Week

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Last week, Southern celebrated Constitution Week, which ran from Sept. 17-23. 

During the five-day observance,  different departments, organizations and individuals brought awareness to the five freedoms of the First Amendment through various activities. 

On Sept. 17, the activities began with a presentation by Lisa Diller, chair of the History and Political Studies Department, and three students during the weekly “Crucial Conversations,” where they talked about the women’s suffrage movement and its relevance today. 

“Us voting right now is a way of showing respect to the women who fought for our right to vote,” said senior history major Haylee Peterson, during the meeting. 

Each day of the week, Southern Votes, a group focused on registering students to vote, set up a booth outside the Student Center to provide information about registering and requesting absentee ballots. 

One of the most interactive events took place on Tuesday in front of the Student Center. During this event, six students participated in a spoken word contest organized by the School of Journalism and Communication (SJC). 

The contest encouraged students to write about one of the five freedoms of the First Amendment and perform their pieces in front of a three-judge panel outside of the Student Center. The top three winners received a cash prize. 

Junior religious education major T.J. Simmons won the top prize of $250 for his speech titled “I was Taught to Fear.” Second- and third-place winners were senior liberal arts education major Allison Carbaugh and senior history major Daniel Capo, who won $100 and $50, respectively.

Another big highlight of the week was a march where students and faculty members walked along the promenade with signs and posters that highlighted the importance of the First Amendment. 

Constitution Week concluded Sept. 23 with an SJC virtual town hall meeting that featured Ken Paulson, director of the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University, and Carmela Monk, editor of Message magazine, as panelists. The event was co-moderated by SJC professor Victoria Joiner and professional YouTuber/podcaster Justin Khoe. It included the unveiling of a new First Amendment display at the SJC.

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