BIG RAPIDS - As part of the American Democracy Project's Constitution Week at Ferris State University, keynote speaker Dr. Brad Bushman from the University of Michigan will speak on media violence, free speech rights and censorship from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept 19 in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room. This event is free and open to the public.
As a research psychologist at the Institute for Social Research, Bushman has been looking at how media violence influences what people think about, how they feel and how they act, said Connie Meinholdt, American Democracy Project coordinator and Ferris associate professor of psychology. He asks the ultimate question, "Does media violence influence societal violence?" Some of this research has been presented at United States Congressional hearings on labeling systems for television, CDs and video games, among others, Meinholdt added.
As part of the week's activities, the ADP also will be organizing voter registration tables from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 17 through 21 in the Rankin Student Center. Last year, the ADP was able to register more than 380 students, Meinholdt said. The group also will be conducting a Constitution Knowledge Contest, handing out pocket guides on the Constitution and engaging students in discussion about American democracy.
The Constitution Knowledge Contest is being coordinated with FLITE library displays to help educate students about this document, she said. Daily gift certificates, T-shirts and copy cards will be awarded to contest winners.
Constitution Week was introduced at Ferris in September of 2005 when U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation requiring public schools, other education or public service entities that receive federal tax dollars to organize a Constitution education event. The event is to take place on or about Sept. 17 , the same day the U.S. Constitution was signed regarding the summer-long debate over how to replace the Articles of Confederation.
The ADP sponsors all Constitution Week campus activities. The ADP is a nationwide program supported by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the New York Times. Ferris State University is a member of AASCU and one of 212 universities participating in the American Democracy Project. The project is committed to educating citizens to effectively participate in our democracy as a government system that is "...of the people, by the people and for the people..." (Abraham Lincoln, 1863). There is no partisan agenda, nor affiliation with any political party. However, student chapters of national political parties are also sponsoring campus events during Constitution Week.
Additional information about Constitution Week events and the American Democracy Project is available at www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/administration/academicaffairs/ADP or by contacting the project coordinator at ADP@ferris.edu or calling (231) 591-2759. The ADP is also planning a voter education event to provide information on candidates and ballot initiatives during the month of October.