Constitution Day

UH Hilo Political Science Department puts on Constitution Day celebration

Editor in Chief Nick Carrion
Photographs by Nick Carrion

Sept. 17 is known in the United States as Constitution Day, in recognition of the date on which the Constitution, the core set of laws and values for our country, was ratified. On Sept. 15, 2017, the UH Hilo Political Science department hosted a celebration to raise awareness of our nation’s most important document.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the festivities took place in the Campus Center Plaza. Any student walking by had the opportunity to win a tote bag and pocket Constitution by completing a quick survey testing their political knowledge. In addition, any student who successfully completed a political-themed crossword puzzle received a special T-shirt from the political science department.

At 5:30 p.m. the fun moved to UCB100, where political science students were pitted against each other in the most intense and informative game of “Jeopardy” our campus has ever seen. And after the games, the evening took on a more serious note, with a panel dedicated to free speech and the first amendment.

Jeremy ButterfieldJeremy Butterfield First to speak was an alumnus of both UH Hilo and UH Manoa’s Richardson School of Law, Jeremy Butterfield. He explained the critical differences between protected and unprotected speech, and the restrictions that can still be placed on each.

Melissa MizuguchiMelissa Mizuguchi Next was UH Hilo senior Melissa Mizuguchi, with an in-depth presentation on free speech in the workplace, and how that differs between employees in the private and public sectors.

John GibbingsJohn Gibbings Following her was fellow UH Hilo senior John Gibbings, who talked about censorship, and what the federal government is and is not legally allowed to prevent from being said.

Michael UdovicMichael Udovic After Gibbings was Hawaiʻi Third Circuit Court Judge Michael Udovic, who presented on the First Amendment rights of citizens against the government, especially in regards to religion, and the differentiation between beliefs and actions.

The final presenter was UH Hilo associate professor Dr. Sarah Marusek, with an exploration of free speech zones and traditional public forums.

All in all a great way to commemorate the signing of our nation’s constitution. According to Dr. Marusek, the celebration was a success, and the Political Science department looks forward to putting on similar events in the future.