Constitution Day comes to Taylor - The Echo News
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Constitution Day comes to Taylor

Political science department gets back to the basics of the Constitution

Katelyn S. Irons | Echo

While questions of foreign policy towards Syria are on the minds of officials in Washington, Taylor is getting back to basics on Constitution Day by entering into a discussion of the years preceding the Constitution and the foundations of our country.

To Professor Stephen King, chair of the political science department, a conversation about foreign policy is obsolete without first understanding the foundation of our own country.

Constitution Day is a federally recognized event to commemorate the formation of the United States Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. Taylor students have the opportunity to observe the day by attending a lecture presented by Judge Paul Mathias of the Indiana Court of Appeals called “A Context for the Constitution.”

“While the constitution might not have visible impact on our daily lives, the structure that it establishes for our society makes possible the freedom and order we take for granted,” said Suzanne Neefus, senior political science and philosophy major. “I’m looking forward to the constitution day lecture because the speaker has tremendous expertise and perspective.”

Neefus hopes to learn more about historical factors which affect how we understand the text of the constitution.

King shares that desire to spread knowledge of the Constitution to Taylor students, a demographic that is what he calls a “hotbed for social impact.” While the student body is conscious of international social issues, King sees opportunity for growth in the study of American politics and civic engagement.

According to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute report “The Shaping of the American Mind,” college is not teaching students enough about civics. In 2006 and 2007, the Institute conducted a 60-question multiple-choice exam of history, government, world politics and economics knowledge.

Out of the 14,000 college freshmen and seniors who took the exam, the average freshman and senior failed.

It’s this indicator, along with many others, that make Constitution Day vital to academic enrichment on college campuses, according to King.

“It’s important to bring elected officials, civil servants, policy advocates, people who represent issues on the left, people who represent issues on the right; bring them forward,” King said.

These issues are not just important to political science majors or professors. Paige Williams, sophomore marketing major, is also interested in the event.

“The Constitution affects my life greatly on a large scale, however, it is hard to see the effects on day-to-day life,” said Williams. “I think that it is great for Taylor to bring people in and do events like this because it is something that we need to be aware of.”

Judge Mathias has served in the Indiana Court of Appeals since 2000 and has received multiple awards for his service, including the Centennial Service Award from the Indiana State Bar. The lecture will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Euler 109 on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

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