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MTSU celebrates Constitution Day with readings, debate, vote signups

MTSU is celebrating the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17 with a focus on voter registration as well as multiple daylong readings of the document.

Tyesha Preston, a freshman from Chattanooga majoring in international relations and political science, registers as a first-time voter during today’s Constitution Day celebration on the MTSU campus. Along with voter registration sites manned by the American Democracy Project at MTSU, the League of Women Voters and Tennessee Citizen Action, volunteers read the Constitution in its entirety at several locations across campus. (MTSU photos by Darby Campbell)

MTSU observes the Constitution’s 1787 signing every year with special events and programs organized by the university chapter of the American Democracy Project.

Among this year’s special programs is a free public debate by the MTSU Blue Raider Debaters, who’ll discuss the federal DREAM Act undocumented immigrant program beginning at 4:30 p.m. today in the State Farm Room inside the Business and Aerospace Building.

The debate will open with background information about the DREAM Act, which temporarily protects certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Debaters will argue the pros and cons of the issue, and a question-and-answer session will conclude the hourlong event.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on campus, volunteers read the Constitution in its entirety in several locations. The College of Mass Communication launched the readings from 9 to 10 a.m. inside the Bragg Mass Comm Building, followed by the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences reading from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. inside the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building.

Other readings today included:

  • 10-11 a.m., Jones College of Business, Business and Aerospace Building;
  • 11 a.m.-noon, College of Liberal Arts, Peck Hall;
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., University College, Business and Aerospace Building;
  • 12:30-1:30 p.m., University Honors College, Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building and College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Peck Hall;
  • 1-2 p.m., College of Education, Education Building.

Voter registration, assisted by the League of Women Voters and Tennessee Citizen Action, was held through 3 p.m. today on the Peck Hall lawn and the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building lawn. According to Tennessee law, voters:

  • must be a citizen of the United States who will be 18 years old or older before the date of the next election.
  • must be a resident of Tennessee.
  • cannot have been convicted of a felony (or if you have, your voting rights have been restored by a court order or pardon).
  • must be properly registered no later than 30 days before the election.

The American Democracy Project at MTSU website also has information specifically for student voter registration, including residency requirements, at http://capone.mtsu.edu/amerdem/campus_vote.shtml.

A complete schedule of Constitution Day 2013 events at MTSU is available at http://tinyurl.com/lqh8rlx. You can learn more about the Blue Raider Debaters’ event here.

Dr. Pat Wall, an associate professor of business law at MTSU, dons a Betsy Ross costume to read from her personal copy of the U.S. Constitution today during the university’s Constitution Day celebration. Dr. G. Robert “Smitty” Smith Jr., center right, chair of the Department of Accounting, listens to Wall along with the assembled students, faculty and staff in the courtyard of the Business and Aerospace Building.

Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, reads a portion of the U.S. Constitution in the Quad outside the Bragg Mass Comm Building today during the university’s Constitution Day celebration.

Click on the Constitution Day events poster above for a full-size PDF version.

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