JOIN THE PARTY FOR MTSU’S CELEBRATION OF CONSTITUTION DAY SEPT. 16-18
Lectures, Panels, Performances Scheduled by 2 University Organizations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 3, 2009
EDITORIAL CONTACTS: Beverly Keel, 615-898-5150, and Jim Williams, 615-898-2633
(MURFREESBORO)—A single day isn’t big enough to contain MTSU’s observance of the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution! Free events are scheduled for three days—Sept. 16-18—as authors, speakers, singer-songwriters and educators team up across campus to celebrate the document created by “we the people …, in order to form a more perfect union.”
All events are free and open to the public.
The celebration kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 16, with a lecture by Vanderbilt professor and author Bruce Barry on “Free Speech on University Campuses: The State of Play” at 10:20 a.m. in the Keathley University Center Theater. Sponsored by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies and the College of Mass Communication at MTSU, Barry’s lecture will be followed at 11:30 a.m. by a “State of the First Amendment” lecture from Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center in Nashville.
The Seigenthaler Chair events continue at 2:20 p.m. Sept. 16 with a performance in Tucker Theatre by “Freedom Sings,” a talented group of singer-songwriters who take the audience on a musical journey of the nation’s history of banned and controversial songs. The “Freedom Sings” lineup varies, but regular performers include Craig Kampf, Jonell Mosser, Don Henry, Bill Lloyd, Ashley Cleveland, Joseph Wooten, Jason White, Jackie Patterson, Dave Coleman and The Wrights.
“The Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence and the College of Mass Communication are celebrating Constitution Day by creating awareness about the First Amendment in a variety of ways during our program,” said Beverly Keel, director of the Seigenthaler Chair. “Legendary journalist and First Amendment advocate John Seigenthaler, for whom the chair is named, is famous for saying, ‘Freedom of expression is never safe, never secure, but always in the process of being made safe and secure.’
“The underlying theme will be, ‘What does the First Amendment mean in 2009?’
My hope is that this program will make everyone reflect on the First Amendment freedoms that many of us either misunderstand or take for granted.”
The work continues Thursday, Sept. 17, with a morning of panel discussions in the KUC Theater. At 9:40 a.m., a panel will address “The Internet and the First Amendment,” moderated by Seigenthaler and featuring Robert Cox, president of the Media Bloggers Association; Nashville attorney Lew Conner; model Liskula Cohen, who recently made national news when she won a lawsuit forcing Google to give up the name of the blogger who anonymously posted negative comments about her; and Srinandan Kasi, vice president and general counsel of The Associated Press.
At 11:20 a.m., a “Panel on the First Amendment Freedoms” will explore the state of the First Amendment's five freedoms—religion, speech, press, assembly and petition—and what they mean today. Panelists will include Seigenthaler; Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and Elaine Jones, former president and director/counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
At 1 p.m., author, journalist and professor Mark Danner will lecture on “Torture, Democracy and the American Press” in Room 221 of the McWherter Learning Resources Center. Danner, who has written about foreign affairs and American politics for more than two decades and is a former staff writer for The New Yorker and current contributor to The New York Review of Books and The New York Times Magazine, also teaches at the University of California and at Bard College. His lecture is co-sponsored by MTSU's Distinguished Lecture Committee.
At 2:40 p.m., Roger Newman, author and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism professor, will lecture on “Civil Liberties: Surveillance and Terrorism” in the KUC Theater and lead a discussion on the civil-liberties aspects of the “war on terror” and technology's impact on the First Amendment. Newman’s book “Hugo Black” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and he is writing a book on President Bill Clinton's Supreme Court appointments.
At 7 p.m. on Sept. 18, the action moves into MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building for a lecture from renowned author Susan Griffin on her latest book, “Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy: On Being an American Citizen” in the State Farm Lecture Hall (Room BAS S102).
Griffin also will facilitate a workshop for faculty, “Teaching Democracy: Integrating Themes of Social Responsibility in the Curriculum,” from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18, in the Faculty Senate Chambers on the first floor of the James Union Building.
“Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy,” Griffin says, “weaves memoir with history while exploring the inner life and psychologies that are engendered by democracy and that sustain self-government.” She says she will focus on “the role empathy plays in this process and connect environmentalism, a crucial part of the evolution of democratic thought, with social justice.”
A poet, essayist, playwright and screenwriter, Griffin’s 1992 book “A Chorus of Stones” was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award. It won the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association award and was named to The New York Times’ “Notable Book of the Year” list.
The American Democracy Project sponsors her lecture and workshop with money from the Distinguished Lectures Fund and the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center. Griffin also will be the guest on the Sept. 13 edition of “MTSU On the Record,” airing at 7 a.m. on WMOT-89.5 FM and www.wmot.org.
All the events are free and are part of MTSU’s celebration of Constitution Day.
To register for Griffin’s workshop, contact the LTITC at 615-494-7671 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Seigenthaler Chair events, visit www.mtsu.edu/masscomm/Events.shtml and click on the Seigenthaler Chair “scheduled events” link or contact Keel at 615-898-5150 or email@example.com. For more information about Griffin’s events, contact Dr. Jim Williams at 615-898-2633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN BRIEF: A single day isn’t big enough to contain MTSU’s observance of the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution! Free public events are scheduled over three days—Sept. 16-18—as authors, speakers, singer-songwriters and educators team up across campus to celebrate the document created by “we the people …, in order to form a more perfect union.” Events kick off Wednesday, Sept. 16, with lectures and a performance by “Freedom Sings,” followed on Thursday by panel discussions and more lectures by acclaimed authors. The celebration concludes Friday, Sept. 18, with a faculty workshop on “Teaching Democracy” by author Susan Griffin. For a detailed schedule, visit www.mtsu.edu/masscomm/Events.shtml and click on the Seigenthaler Chair “scheduled events” link, and visit www.mtsu.edu/~amerdem for the American Democracy Project info.
For MTSU news and information, visit www.mtsunews.com.