Essay on ‘Constitution Day’ and Constitutional Ignorance

June 15, 2007

Minding the Campus has a lengthy essay by Princeton Professor Bradford P. Wilson titled “Constitution Day.” Dr. Wilson explores contemporary ignorance of constitutional ideas and their absence from the curriculum. While he explores the larger curricular reforms necessary to bring constitutional education back to the university, of concern to FIRE is the simple fact that many students are unaware of their rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Because of this ignorance, students succumb to campus censorship and some even object to FIRE’s efforts to ensure that individual rights are secure. Just the other day we got an e-mail from a student at Northeastern University who objected to our selection of Northeastern’s speech code for February’s Speech Code of the Month (we responded to his objection here). A better knowledge of constitutional history and the content of First Amendment rights would stem these sorts of responses.

One of the missions of the Campus Freedom Network is to educate students at American universities about their constitutional right to free expression, religious liberty, and due process. We encourage CFN members to utilize our Guides Program to help cure contemporary ignorance of these issues on their campuses. All guides are free to students and faculty upon request. The order form can be found here.