SUNY Oswego celebrating Constitution Week

Sarah Sterling, Jonel Langenfeld-Rial and Fredrica Germany read from the Constitution.SUNY Oswego will mark Constitution Week with a series of events including a reading of the Constitution, debates, speakers and more Sept. 14 to 18.

The keynote event, “Rock the Constitution” will unfold at 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, in the academic quad. This College Hour activity will feature SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley, students, faculty and staff reading portions of the timeless document aloud, and attendees will receive a miniature copy of the Constitution.

“I know from having experienced previous ‘Rock’ events that gathering together to hear the words of the Constitution out loud really brings them to life,” said Nola Heidlebaugh, SUNY Oswego’s civic engagement coordinator.

“Oswego’s Great Debaters,” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, will launch the week’s activities. Happening in tandem with this year’s African, Latino, Asian and Native American Student Leadership Conference at SUNY Oswego, the event in the Campus Center auditorium will feature members of the campus community debating two topics: the status of racism in the United States and the effects of hip-hop music and culture on youth.

The debate event “represents an effort by ALANA and the School of Communication, Media and the Arts to revive student debate at Oswego,” Heidlebaugh said. “We are very excited by the opportunity.”

Discussing free speech

The Robin Williams film “Good Morning, Vietnam,” screening at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, “helps illustrate situations where free speech seems to reach its limits, especially during wartime,” Heidlebaugh noted. Screening in Room 228 of the Campus Center, the movie also launches the college’s Free Speech/Free Press Film Series, which will feature a different topical film Thursday evenings throughout the semester.

Author Michael Eric Dyson will speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Hewitt Union ballroom, also in cooperation with the ALANA conference. Through such books as “April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King’s Death and How It Changed America,” “Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster” and “Is Bill Cosby Right?” Dyson offers passionate and provocative explorations of the state of race in America. The event is free but, due to anticipated demand, tickets are required via the Campus Center box office in person or by calling 312-3073.

On Thursday, students can also take the Constitution Challenge from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Campus Center concourse. Attendees can take a mini-quiz based on the exam given to those seeking citizenship and test their knowledge of the Constitution.

“I Signed the Constitution,” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, in the Campus Center concourse will allow attendees to see and sign a giant copy of the document and “affirm your belief in the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment,” Heidlebaugh said.

In addition, Penfield Library will present a Banned Book Display, featuring works that have been challenged and banned from libraries and schools throughout the years. Examples of previously banned books include “Tom Sawyer,” “Call of the Wild,” “Catcher in the Rye,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Of Mice and Men,” “Walter the Farting Dog,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” “A Light in the Attic” and most of Stephen King’s books.

All events are free and open to the public. For information, contact Heidlebaugh at or 312-3677.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Constitution rock—Sarah Sterling, Jonel Langenfeld-Rial and Fredrica Germany read from the Constitution during the 2008 edition of “Rock the Constitution.”

(Posted: Sep 01, 2009)

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