Monroe Celebrates Constitution Day

The Fall semester got off to a terrific start with the College’s traditional Constitution Day programming just two weeks into the new academic year.

Also acknowledged as Constitution and Citizenship Day, this annual day of celebration commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. As the anniversary fell on a Sunday this year, the College designated the following Monday as its day for related activities.

The School of Criminal and Social Justice once again led our Constitution Day programming. We thank Dean Guylaine Harrison, Program Director Dr. Paul Lichtbraun, and Assistant Director Faye Roberts-Paul for their creativity and leadership.

This year’s theme focused on the Supreme Court -- Understanding Judicial Power: Your Vote Supports Equal Justice." An in-person event was held at 10:40 am in the Mintz Auditorium on the Bronx campus. All students, faculty, and staff were welcomed to attend. Classroom discussions and related activities were also scheduled.

This year’s event was dedicated to Dr. Donald E. Simon, a beloved faulty member lost to us earlier this year. Dr. Simon was an important part of the College for more than 40 years. He served a range of roles during his tenure, lastly as Assistant Vice President for Governmental Affairs. Being an educator, however, was the role that he most treasured.

Dr. Simon was also the de facto College historian and archivist. He played a pivotal role for years in the College’s Constitution Day preparations, including creating the discussion guides for classroom activities.

Dr. Karenann Carty, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, made opening remarks at this morning’s event in the Mintz. She spoke about the importance of Constitution Day and its historical role at the College, among other key points.

Evan Frankl, the College’s new Librarian on the Bronx campus, gave an engaging talk on some the lesser-known facts about the Constitution, including a requirement that  justices must be paid to ensure that those from less affluent backgrounds could “afford” to take on the responsibility of serving as a Supreme Court judge. He also surprised attendees with the concept that, initially, there was no requirement that a Supreme Court justice pass the bar as lawyers. Today, of course, Harvard and Yale Law School graduates dominate the bench.

Mr. Frankl also spoke about available resources for those interested in learning more about the Constitution and the earliest days of the country’s founding. Online resources are available through the LibGuide here:

As part of the event, Professor John Mark fielded questions about the importance of voting, explaining that it should be seen as a personal privilege and a responsibility of all eligible citizens who wish to effect change. The value of voting, he stressed, far surpasses any perceived value of not voting.

In her remarks, Dean Guylaine Harrison emphasized that there are two schools of thought on the Constitution. One sees it as “set in stone” and the other as a “living and breathing” document. She explained the ramifications for each stance and encouraged participants to learn more about Constitutional Law and the legal philosophies of our Supreme Court Justices.

Closing remarks came from Dr. Paul Lichtbraun and Assistant Director Faye Roberts-Paul.

The students left with a personal copy of the Constitution and were encouraged to spend time before leaving to view the exhibition of pictures and phrases, specifically to help them become more familiar with the current and former Supreme Court Justices and cases that they have ruled on. 

As an added bonus, the College had the pleasure of welcoming President George Washington to the event. Ok, technically, it was Mr. Emmet Carty, but he channeled our first president very convincingly!

The College thanks all involved for the terrific Constitution Day events!