Constitution Day

2021

After a pandemic-related pause in 2020, Maim again commemorated the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution's signing on September 17, 1787 by holding its sixth annual Citizenship and Democracy Week, a broad multi-campus, multi-event program aimed at promoting civic learning and engagement in our local communities. Coordinated and sponsored by the University’s Menard Family Center for Democracy, this year’s Citizenship and Democracy Week included the following events, all free and open to the public:

  • Monday, September 13, 7pm, Wilks Conference Center, Miami Hamilton (zoom simulcast) Keynote lecture by Dr. Kimberly Hamlin, Professor of History and Global and Intercultural Studies, entitled “Are Women Full Citizens?  What the Long History of #MeToo Reveals.” Co-sponsored by the Department of Justice & Community Studies.

  • Monday, September 13, 10am, Wilks Conference Center, Miami Hamilton A special on-campus public session of the Ohio Court of Appeals for the 12th District.

  • Tuesday, September 14, 4pm, Wilks Theater, Oxford campus (zoom simulcast) The 2021 O’Hara Lecture on Law and Politics, delivered by Mr. Jim Obergefell, entitled “Courts, Law and the Right to Marriage Equality: The Story and Legacy of Obergefell v. Hodges.” Co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science.

  • Wednesday, September 15, 12pm, Jack Rhodes Study, Miami Hamilton A campus-wide “Free Speech Forum,” moderated by Dr. Daniel Hall, Professor of Political Science and Justice & Community Studies. 
  • Wednesday, September 15, 10am, Schwarm Hall Commons, Miami Hamilton A “Rapid Rights” public symposium featuring interactive presentations on selected civil liberties issues by over two dozen Miami undergraduates.

  • Thursday, September 16, 10am, Wilks Conference Center, Miami Hamilton An immersive simulation of the practical challenges faced by formerly incarcerated persons in local communities. Co-sponsored by the Department of Justice & Community Studies.

  • Friday, September 17, 10am, Miami Hamilton quad and lawn A special Constitution Day on-campus naturalization ceremony for new U.S. citizens, conducted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Co-sponsored by the Department of Justice & Community Studies with major support from the Office of the President, the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science, the City of Hamilton, the Miami University Men’s Glee Club, the Butler County Board of Elections, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, the Miami Regionals English Language Center and the Miami Regionals Office of Diversity and Multicultural Services.

Miami’s annual Citizenship and Democracy Week was highlighted in the American Political Science Association’s Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines (2017) as a model of effective interdisciplinary civics programming within higher education.  For more information about Miami’s annual event, please contact Dr. John Forren, Executive Director of the Menard Family Center for Democracy, at Forrenjp@MiamiOh.edu or Dr. Bryan Marshall, Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, at Marshabw@MiamiOh.edu.

2020

Constitution Day 2020’s keynote discussion was The Constitution Needs a Friend Like You Wednesday, presented on September 16, 2:00pm -- via Zoom. Everyone was invited to join Professor Bruce Petrie, adjunct instructor of political science and author of Constitutional Conversation: A New Lens on America's Best Masterpiece (2016), for a lively discussion of the U.S. Constitution's enduring values and its central place in American civic culture. This event was sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the College of Arts & Science, and the Menard Family Center for Democracy and was available to everyone at all Miami campuses.

2019

Oxford Campus

John and Mary Beth Tinker as well as Dr. Steve Brown did a series of local events as well as events at Miami University during September 16–19 2019. The events were part of the 50th year anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision, Tinker v. Des Moines School Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969). In that 1969 case, the Supreme Court established a standard favorable to a broad interpretation of students' First Amendment rights. Among other local events, John and Mary Beth Tinker participated in a Naturalization Ceremony at Miami Hamilton and a university-wide lecture at Miami University in Oxford. The lecture in Miami’s Armstrong Auditorium related to the Tinker’s incredible story—the events over 50 years ago, and their battle for free speech and student rights especially how such rights intersect with public discourse and student activism, as well as contemporary issues around student’s freedom of expression. For more information about Oxford Campus Constitution Day activities, please contact Dr. Bryan Marshall, Chair and Professor of Political Science, at marshabw@MiamiOH.edu.

Regional Campuses

Since 2015, Miami’s regional campuses have celebrated Constitution and Citizenship Day each year by staging Citizenship and Democracy Week – a themed week of curricular and co-curricular programs designed to engage our community in discussion and deliberation about the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. The cornerstone of Citizenship and Democracy Week each year is a large-scale naturalization ceremony held outdoors on the Hamilton campus in cooperation with numerous community partners and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Beyond the naturalization ceremony, each year’s Citizenship and Democracy Week also includes a broad mix of other civics-focused programs held in Hamilton, Middletown and Oxford. Recent examples include civic volunteer fairs, multi-campus straw polls, voter registration drives, civics research presentations, public readings of the U.S. Constitution, on-campus appeals court proceedings, community deliberative dialogues, on-campus city council and school board sessions, film showings and discussions, public lectures by visiting scholars and civic leaders and student exploratory trips to Columbus and Washington, DC. Typically, over 2000 people participate in Miami’s Citizenship and Democracy Week programs each year. The week’s events also receive extensive coverage in local media outlets. For more information about Constitution Day at the Regional Campuses, please contact Dr. John Forren, Chair and Associate Professor of Justice & Community Studies, at forrenjp@MiamiOH.edu.