By Mara Afzali '14
For the past six years, The Center for the Study of Government and Politics has sponsored the annual Constitution Day at Siena College. This event is meant to educate students on matters invovling the United States Constitution. The first event took place in September 2005, and involved a presentation about the USA Patriot Act. The guest speakers for this event were William Snyder, Professor of National Security Law at Albany Law School, and Arthur Wolf, Director of Western New England Law School's Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs.
In September 2006, Paul Finkelman, Ph. D., Professor at Albany Law School, gave a talk titled, "Makeing A Covenant with Death, Understanding the Pro-Slavery Constitution." Dr. Finkelman explored how the framers of the Constitution of 1787 protected slavery while writing the Constitution.
In September 2007, Stephen Gottlieb, Professor of Law at Albany Law School, lectured on "The Supreme Court and Social Justice."
For Constitution Day 2009, Stephen Clark, J.D., Professor of Law at Albany Law School, presented on "Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution: The Tension Between Law and Statesmanship." (Images shown below)
On September 20, 2010, Patricia E. Salkin, Esq., Associate Dean at Albany Law School, gave a talk titled, "This Land is Not Your Land, This Land is Our Land - Balancing Public and Private Property Rights." (Images shown below)
Constitution Day 2011 took place on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. The keynote speaker was The Honorable Mae Avila D'Agostino, United States District Judge for the Northern District of New York. The title of the talk was, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms: Recent Developments in Second Amendment Jurisprudence." (Images shown below)
Constitution Day 2012 was celebrated on September 17, 2012. To commemorate the 225th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, Professor Steve Wermiel spoke on, "Reforming the Supreme Court: The Seventy-Five Year Journey from Courtpacking to Today's Proposals." Professor Wermiel is a Professor of Constitutional Law, Director of the Marshall/Brennan Program, and Associate Director of the Law and Government Program at American University Law School and Washington College of Law. (Images shown below)
Constitution Day 2013 was celebrated on September 25, 2013. The keynote speaker was Professor Donna E. Young LL.M., Professor of Law at Albany Law school. The talk was titled, "Equality Across Borders: The 14th Amendment in Comparative Perspective." (Images shown below)
Scholar in Residence Program
On April 6, 2011, The Center for the Study of Government and Politics hosted Dr. Louis Fisher as a part of the Scholar in Residence Program. Louis Fisher served as a special Constitutional Scholar for the Constitutional Project in Washington D.C. He has served for four decades at the Library of Congress as a senior specialist in separation of powers , the presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional law.
Dr. Fisher has authored over twenty five peer reviewed books, over 50 journal articles, and he has testified before Congress on such issues as War Powers, NSA Surveillance, Congress and the Constitution, the Item Veto, Executive Privilege, Covert Spending, and Presidential Impoundment.
He has taught as a Professor of Political Science at Queens College, Georgetown University, American University, John Hopkins University, The College of Williams and Mary Law School, and Catholic University Law School.
He has traveled and consulted with governments in Europe through the American Bar Association, participating in the Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI).
During this event, he conducted informal meetings with students, hosted a Roundtable Discussion on current political issues, and visited classes on the Presidency, American Politics, and the Honors Seminar.
First Women President Symposium
On March 4-5, 2005, Siena College hosted the First Woman President Symposium. This two day event included presentations by guest speakers, professors and students, and it explored the issue of electing the first woman President of the United States. In March 2006, Siena College followed up with, "Part II: Becoming Madam President - The Campaign." In February 2007, the Symposium was continued with "Road to the White House."
Other sponsored Events
On Wednesday, October 16, 2013, Ausra Park, Ph.D. an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Siena College gave a talk titled "Silent Tsunami: Human Trafficking in Europe." Dr. Park was recently awarded an International Research Exchange (IREX) Grant to conduct an 8-week long field research in the summer of 2014 for the project "Politics of Human Trafficking: Governments' Political Games and NGOs." The Center for the Study of Government and Politics would like to thank and congratulate Dr. Park.
On December 5, 2011, Siena College hosted a talk and panel reaction session on "Colleges and the Civic Health of Their Communities." The speaker for this event was Ms. Kristi Tate, Director of Community Strategies and the National Conference on Citizenship. This was followed by a panel reaction session on "What can Siena College do to Enhance the Civic Health of New York State?" This panel consisted of Siena students and faculty.
On March 23, 2011, the Political Science Society and The Center for Government and Politics hosted a panel discussion on, "Why Care? Why Vote?: Political Insiders Tell All." Political insiders talked about current issues and how they related to students.
The Center and Siena College Globalization Studies hosted a conference on "Global Civic Engagement: What does it mean for Siena?" This event took place on March 9-10, 2010, and contained an address by keynote speaker Susan Buck Sutton, Ph.D. The second day consisted of panel discussions on: "Voices of Experience with Global Civic Engagement", "Summer or Semester Global Opportunities", and "Short-term Global Opportunities."
On February 18, 2010, The Center hosted the Visiting Scholar of the American Presidency program Jeffrey E. Cohen, Ph.D., of Fordham University, who gave a presentation titled, "Assessing the First Year of the Obama Presidency."
On October 28, 2009, Siena hosted the Engaged Sociologist Symposium. Dr. Carmen Sirianni, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Brandeis University, gave a talk titled, "Democracy in the Age of Obama: Possibilities and Pitfalls."
On November 16, 2007, the Center hosted a conference on "Promising Approaches to Civic Education." The keynote speaker was Dr. Richard Battistoni and he spoke on "Reclaiming the Civic Mission of Schools." He explored the rationale for enhancing civic education as well as the challenges to implementing a revitialized school-based education for democracy.
In October 2007, Jason West, former Mayor of New Paltz, NY, lectured on "Another World is Possible: Marriage Equality, Human Rights, Political Engagement and Political Change." He advocated marriage equality for same-sex couples, civic engagement, and the importance of college student voting.
In March 2007, the Center hosted the Road to the White House Colloquium. This event included several roundtable discussions on the possibility of a woman President and the Presidential nomination process. The keynote speaker, Dr. Stephen J. Wayne, Georgetown University, presented "The Road to the White House in 2008."
During the 2004-2005 academic year, The Center for the Study of Government and Politics kicked off with a presentation by H. Carl McCall, former Democratic nominee for Governor of New York in 2004 and former Comptroller of New York State. He addressed the need for student participation in civic affairs.