Constitution Day at Tennessee Tech University will be held on Sept. 14 is shaping up to be the best ever for political and media buffs alike.
Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 brave men on Sept. 17, 1787, recognizing all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.
Nolan Fowler taught history at TTU from 1962-1979, including classes on constitutional law. He endowed a fund with $150,000 to sustain this event each year to promote knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. Fowler, an outstanding track and field athlete in high school and at Morehead University, was inducted in the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame in 2001.
All educational institutions receiving federal funds are required each year in September to host a celebration commemorating the Sept. 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution.
Read the transcript of the United States Constitution at the National Archives web site.
In a survey conducted by the National Constitution Center, students have more knowledge of pop culture than they have of the U.S. Constitution. In that survey, less than 2 percent of respondents knew James Madison was considered the father of the U.S. Constitution, but almost 60 percent knew Bill Gates is considered the father of Microsoft.
For more information about the event, call Constitution Day Committee member Tiff Rector at 372-3159.
NOTE: The debate will be simulcast LIVE in the Derryberry Auditorium following the Constitution Day speaker. The public is invited to attend and watch the debate on the large screen.
The Highlands – a regional public/private sector initiative between Overton, Putnam and White counties – is partnering with Tennessee Tech University, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee and Nashville’s WTVF NewsChannel5 to produce a non-partisan general election debate for Tennessee’s 2010 gubernatorial candidates. The town-hall-style debate, which will offer a unique focus on hometown economic development, education and health care needs, will be held on Tuesday, September 14th at 7 p.m. CST. It will be broadcast live by WTVF from Tennessee Tech’s Wattenbarger Auditorium, in Cookeville, TN.
To be a part of the debate action, Tennesseans are encouraged to submit questions by video or in written form here. You may also submit video questions via YouTube. Remember that your questions must be on hometown issues– those mostly affecting rural and suburban areas of Tennessee. Also, inappropriate language and personal attacks on the candidates are not allowed.
And don’t forget to follow the Highlands Town Hall Debate on Facebook and Twitter for key updates leading up to Sept. 14.
Historical Significance Traditionally, Tennessee’s major-party candidates for governor participate in three televised debates – one in each of the state’s major media centers (Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville). This is the first televised gubernatorial debate held outside of a major metro area in Tennessee history. Because more than 50 percent of voters in Tennessee live in rural/suburban areas, Cookeville and the Highlands are ideally situated for this first-of-its-kind platform. Furthermore, the debate format opens new avenues for voters to learn what the candidates really think about hometown issues. Republican Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter will hear first-hand about the challenges facing rural and suburban voters. It is vital that our next governor hear these concerns and begin formulating plans to address them.
For more information about the debate, contact Laura Canada at 800-264-5541 or 931-586-2211.
She’ll discuss the impact of popular programs like “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report” and political satire websites like Funny or Die. The free event is set for 5 p.m., Sept. 14 in Derryberry Auditorium and is open to the public.
“Democratic governments are suitable homes for and even require political satire to function well. I'll also be talking about how satire works, cognitively, to expose hypocrisy and bring to light criticisms of people and institutions without explicitly criticizing them head-on. Most importantly, I'll reveal how and why this mechanism can be particularly effective as a form of persuasion,” she said.
Young said viewers of programs like “The Daily Show,” which is popular with college students, are more politically savvy than many realize.
“Viewers of ‘The Daily Show’ are more engaged in politics, more attentive to politics, more knowledgeable about politics, and more likely to be participating in politics than people who don't watch the show. We also know that the observation that ‘young people are getting their news from The Daily Show’ is probably inaccurate,” she said.
Young finds the website Funny or Die and “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central among the most interesting outlets for political satire because they’re on the cutting edge of pop culture and politics.
“The Colbert Report,” she said, is a fascinating example how irony, parody and satire work together to make arguments that one might not be able to make in a serious way.
“The show itself is a parody of a Fox-news style pundit show. Colbert’s entire presentation is ironic. He means the opposite of almost everything he says. And the resulting message is satirical in that it critiques the institution of conservative media as well as many conservative ideas,” she said. “Yet, such complex messages require a lot of work on the part of the audience, and so are always open to misinterpretations.”
For more information about Young’s visit to campus, call Constitution Day Committee chairperson Kent Dollar at 931-372-6547.
Immediately following Dr. Young's talk, the guberantorial debate will be simulcast LIVE in the Derryberry Auditorium. The public is invited to attend and watch the debate on the large screen.
Mock student election
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 14, students can vote for their favorite candidate and help feed the area's needy families. A mock election will be held in the Roaden University Center's Tech Pride Room. To vote, students are asked to bring one can food item to be donated to families in need.
College Republicans and College Democrats will host voter registration tables in the RUC Tech Pride Room from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then move those tables over to Derryberry Auditorium for those students who attend the Constitution Day event at 5 p.m.
Army ROTC representatives will be in the Tech Pride Room with a display, and the Women's Center will have information about the history of women's right to vote.
Primary Media Contacts for Tennessee Tech University
Karen Lykins, TTU News & Communications Director
Valeri Oliver, TTU News & Communications Writer