In honor of Constitution Day, the Associated Student Government hosted a celebration last Thursday night in Webb Lecture Hall.
“Constitution Day is an observance of the Constitution,” said Mike Freeland, senior digital audio major. “We reflect on what it has done for us, what its future is, what its purpose is.”
Luke Drury, legislative director of ASG and junior political science major, said a video clip made by Zoiks, Emporia State’s improvisational comedy group, was shown to depict constitutional conventions in a satirical fashion.
Another clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart addressed potential changes the American government could make to improve the Constitution.
“The mission behind Constitution Day is to get students involved in campus, and second of all, get them to understand the Constitution by putting it in a way that is funny with a little bit of satire,” Drury said. “When a lot of people hear Associated Student Government or Constitution, they think dry and boring, so we are trying to change that.”
Phil Kelly, associate professor of political science and pre-law adviser, said the Constitution is a contract which establishes the structures of the government and provides protective regulations for minorities.
According to the Library of Congress’ website, Constitution Day is observed each year on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution in 1787.
Although the document was honored during the event, some attendees questioned the credibility of the Constitution during modern times.
“The Constitution should be changed,” Kelly said. “We really need to have the government do things, but the government is paralyzed…it is a problem within our Constitution and possibly within our political culture.”
But other ESU students and faculty had different opinions.
“The constitution was vague in the beginning so it could be translated to modern times,” Freeland said. “It stands well on its own.”
John Barnett, assistant professor of political science, said the Constitution is appropriate for changing times.
“The Constitution works beautifully,” Barnett said. “It is the rules within government that need to be modified. The Constitution is a living doctrine.”
During the event, Barnett, Kelly and Rob Catlett, associate professor of economics, defined the government and debated on the roles and limits of the government.
“I define the government as a democracy – it demands participation,” Barnett said.
Controversial issues, such as health care, taxation and the social class system in America were also discussed.