Vanderbilt to host events observing Constitution/Citizenship Day Sept. 16


A discussion about America’s future by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, national journalists and Pulitzer Prize winners and a campus read-a-thon of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are some the events planned at Vanderbilt University in observance of Constitution Day/Citizenship Day. Events at Vanderbilt also are planned prior to and on the official observance on Friday, Sept. 16. All events are free and open to the public.

Constitution Day/Citizenship Day commemorates the Sept. 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution. In recognition, Congress has mandated that every educational institution receiving federal funding hold an educational program about the seminal document.

Vanderbilt’s events include the following:

Monday, Sept. 12

Is America Really Great?
Hosted by the Multicultural Leadership Council
8-9 p.m.
Alumni Hall, Room 201

With the current presidential election having a particular focus on American greatness, the Multicultural Leadership Council invites members of the council and the public to discuss different meanings of greatness and what it means in 2016.

Wednesday, Sept. 14

Decision 2016: A Look at America’s Future
Chancellor’s Lecture Series
5:30-6:30 p.m., reception, Langford Auditorium lobby
6:30-7:30 p.m., lecture, Langford Auditorium

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos joins Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham for a discussion about the upcoming presidential election and the future of our country.

Thursday, Sept. 15

A Living Constitution?
Hosted by the Office of Active Citizenship and Service and the Department of Political Science
Speaker: Carrie Russell, senior lecturer, Vanderbilt Department of Political Science
3:30-4:30 p.m.
Rand Hall, Room 308

The Constitution is “the supreme law of the land” in the United States, but it is also a living, changeable document. What, then, is the role of everyday citizens in forming a more perfect union? Russell will discuss the role of the Constitution and the amendment process in securing rights and liberties.

Whose Constitution Is It?
Hosted by the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center and the Office of Active Citizenship and Service
Speaker: Vice Chancellor and Professor of Law David Williams; facilitated by Vanderbilt senior Damonta Morgan
5-6 p.m.
The Commons Center, Multipurpose Room

Vice Chancellor David Williams will lead a discussion that explores the U.S. Constitution and how it does or does not address the issues of African Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, the socioeconomically disadvantaged and other groups.

Friday, Sept. 16

Violence and Marginalization in the United States
Hosted by the Office of LGBTQI Life and the Program in Women’s and Gender Studies
3:30-5:30 p.m.
Student Life Center, Board of Trust Room

Associate Dean of Students Frank Dobson; Kenneth MacLeish, assistant professor of medicine, health and society and assistant professor of anthropology; Anand Taneja, assistant professor of religious studies; and Vanderbilt Divinity School student R.J. Robles will discuss the intersecting layers of violence and marginalization in the United States, providing context to and history for recent tragic events, in particular the Orlando tragedy.

Constitution Day Campus Read-a-thon: The U.S. Constitution and The Bill of Rights
Hosted by Vanessa Beasley, dean of The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons
9 a.m.-3 p.m., The Commons Center

Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff and administrators will continuously read the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights aloud throughout the day near the piano in The Commons Center’s first-floor living room area. Passersby can sit and listen or reflect on the reading as Vanderbilt community members honor and give literal voice to the foundational documents.

The events are sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, the Vice Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs, the Office of the Dean of Students, College Halls at Vanderbilt, The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, the Office of Active Citizenship and Service, the Department of Political Science, the Office of LGBTQI Life and Vanderbilt Athletics.

Print a poster for Constitution and Citizenship Week to post in your work area.