Constitution Week observed

By Rich Bruen

Americans will take time out once again to reflect upon the constitution and what it means to them as the nation observes its 32nd annual Constitution Week.

Constitution Week, established by Congress on Aug. 2, 1956 under Public Law 84-915, requires the President “to designate the period beginning September 17 and ending September 23 of each year as Constitution Week.”

Constitution Week’s purpose, as defined by the statute, is “to observe such week in schools, churches and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

However, this probably will not be the case at NIU this year.

“I’ve never heard of it,” Professor of Political Science Pete Ruckman said.

Dean of NIU Law College James J. Alfini said that the law college has nothing planned to observe or celebrate the week.

“If we’d known something about it, we’d have done something about it,” he said. “The federal government has not done a good job publicizing the law (Constitution Week).”

At least one member of NIU’s faculty had heard of the week though.

“It was one of those things they used to celebrate in the early years,” NIU Journalism Professor Richard Digby-Junger said. “The events of the 60s had a lot to do with its disuse.”

He said that he felt the idea behind the week was to think about the meaning of the constitution.

“It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to pause for a few seconds and think about what it (the constitution) really means,” he said.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Ruckman said when informed of the week. “If there’s one thing people are ignorant of, it’s the constitution.”

He also said that he would like to see some kind of program at NIU to observe Constitution Week.