Colorado State University is pleased to join today in the national celebration of Constitution Day, as colleges and universities across the United States engage in a balanced, thoughtful celebration of our nation's founding documents – their promise and expectations.
Public universities are committed to preparing students not just to earn a living, but to understand and accept their responsibility as citizens and leaders. Constitution Day is an important opportunity to reinforce this commitment and to join in a celebration of those freedoms, and their inherent obligations, that make our nation's public colleges and universities the envy of the world. The freedom to speak, to debate, to question and to dissent is at the very foundation of academic freedom and students' rights in the United States. Constitution Day allows us not only to reflect on the vision behind our nation's founding, but also to consider the special role that higher education has in modeling and perpetuating this vision.
The events of the last four years – particularly our response to Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina – have brought a renewed focus on the importance of our nation's founding documents and how they affect our ability to respond, as a people, in times of crisis. In both cases, Americans demonstrated how the freedoms secured by our nation's founders are exercised daily by the citizens of this country – through the actions of a free press, in the voices of people unafraid to question their leaders as well as support them, and in a government that can withstand and gain strength from both its successes and its mistakes.
Constitution Day is a significant opportunity for CSU to foster student awareness and understanding of Constitutional rights, responsibilities and history. Our celebration of Constitution Day began last night with an ASCSU Proclamation of Support in the Senate Chambers. The Lory Student Center Plaza today will host many additional organizations and activities. Pocket guides will be distributed pertaining to the Constitution, and a brown-bag lunch and discussion with political science professor Bob Lawrence will take place from noon to 1 p.m. The CSU Bookstore will also house a display of books relating to the Constitution, and the RamLEAD Fall Leadership Development Conference, held in the Lory Student Center on Saturday, Sept. 17, will host a "Writing Effective Constitutions" workshop from 3:10 to 4:00 p.m.
Part of being a well-informed citizen includes awareness of one's past and the influence that our national heritage, culture and founding principles have had on the country's present and future development. Please join us in celebrating the most important document in our nation's history by taking part in these Constitution Day events.
Larry Edward Penley