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UVU Creates Center For Constitutional Studies Thanks To Donors’ Gifts

19 September 2011 4 Comments

September 19, 2011
For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Culminating a week’s worth of U.S. Constitution relation events on campus and in honor of Constitution Day, UVU President Matthew S. Holland today announced the creation of a Center for Constitutional Studies that will focus on supporting new, robust academic opportunities for student learning in an area of timely national interest.

The initial 5-year launch of the center is made possible by generous contributions totaling $1 million from two successful Utah business leaders who wish to remain anonymous rather than receive public recognition for their gifts.

“This is a tremendous gift, one of the largest we have received to advance a specific field of academic study,” said President Holland. “Constitutional studies are of paramount interest and value as the country and the global community continues to grapple with political and economic challenges related to our constitutional order. This center will be the first of its kind in the Intermountain western U.S.”

Ian Wilson, vice president of academic affairs, said the center will employ a director and an administrator while remaining an academic hub of constitutional studies for faculty, staff and student participants from departments on campus. He said the University is currently working through the space considerations for the long-term physical location of the center that will include rooms and offices.

Through the center, students will have access to myriad resources and materials and the presentation of programming in the form of guest lecturers, academic conferences and internships. These will include a multi-disciplinary constitutional studies minor degree program with emphases in the European and Colonial foundations of American constitutionalism, the American founding, constitutional government and design, and constitutional liberties and rights.

Rick Griffin, J.D., Ph.D., LL.M., an associate professor of history and political science at UVU who has an extensive academic background in constitutional studies including advanced graduate studies and research in constitutional law, constitutional aspects of education, civil rights, judicial politics, constitutional and legal history and constitutional design, has been selected as the center’s director.

“The center will benefit the University’s intellectual life by engaging the students, the public and regionally, nationally and internationally recognized scholars,” Griffin said.

The University will actively support the center in seeking additional private funding and national grants for continued support beyond 2016.

“The Center for Constitutional Studies is a textbook example of how donors and private funding sources can be a game changer for UVU in terms of significantly contributing to the academic success of our students,” said Marc Archambault, vice president of development and alumni. “During tough economic times and limited resources, friends and alumni of UVU can be a major force in helping the University succeed in its mission to provide a quality higher education to students.”

Last week, UVU students participated in a weeklong commemoration of the U.S. constitution that included a variety of events including a keynote address by Harry N. Scheiber, Stefan A. Riesenfeld professor of law and history and the University of California-Berkley, an essay contest, and opportunities to learn more about the historic document and its framers.

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About UVU

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to nearly 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.

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4 Comments »

  • CitizenAuthority said:

    Hopefully, a keen academic study can be done to explain why so many in this country (unfortunately utah is included in this debauchery) believe that we are a Democracy when our Founding documents set us up as a Constitutional Republic. Law is to rule instead of majority rule. We have never moved from that position on paper–socially we’ve moved far to the left and have failed to follow our Constitution due to radicalism! The document is not that difficult to understand!

    I challenge UVU faculty, administration, students, and supporters to bring this topic to light in robust debate. That challenge must be based on factual evidence and not just socially accepted dogma as purveyed on so many of our fine academic campuses in this country. Sad really. If we wish to keep the liberty that we enjoy we had better begin to teach correct principles in our homes, schools, and from the pulpit.

    Speaking of pulpits: there is no such thing as ‘separation of church and state’ in the Article of the First of the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court later decided that was what the Article of the First meant. That leads me to the second point. The Bill of Rights are not Amendments, but in fact Articles as can be seen on the original. Look it up! Let’s treat them as to what they are–not what we have made them through the years. That should start the discussion -

    In Vindiciam Libertatis!

  • Constitutional Law professor said:

    These “articles” that make up the bill of rights were added to the original constitution—i.e., they are “amendments” to the original.
    This country is a Democratic Republic…so you are really mincing words for no reason if anybody claims we are a “democracy.” It’s one of those terms used by politicians, patriots, and corporations to bring warm fuzzy feelings—You can’t sell a lot of people on electing or supporting a war to enhance Republicanism…. that’s why they say “democracy…”
    I think you’ve ben drinking to much form the Tea party…
    ANd don’t forget the original document only prevented congress from quashing free speech, preventing establishment of religion, etc. It also did not allow women or blacks to vote. Not a perfect document by any means.

  • CitizenAuthority said:

    Dear Constitutional Law Professor

    No I haven’t been drinking too much TEA! I’m not part of the Tea Party, either. However, I am a concerned citizen and I do take my government seriously. The various false notions about our founding documents, and these “United States,” have crept into our educational systems, are deceptive, and threaten our existence as per original intent.

    As for the Bill of Rights, it’s clear that the States didn’t just see the Bill of Rights as mere amendments–that is historic precedence sir! That cannot be debated. The fact that the Bill of Rights includes 10 ‘Articles’ should be a striking difference as they were to clarify what government was not capable of doing to the States or the population at large. Yes, the word amendment does appear in the preamble, but the words amendment are subservient to the use of Articles since we see the same term used in the Constitution–and clearly evident in the original manuscript. After the Bill, we then see only Amendments! Can that be explained? Or, is this a case of just glossing over original intent due to agenda seekers over the last one hundred plus years? Explain -

    Democratic Republic, hmmm… Seems to me that we use democratic procedures but that does not make a democracy nor a republic. We can pussy foot around on all the nuances of the term(s) until the end of time. Go back and reacquaint yourself with Federalist Papers #10. Federalism is the key phrase in what our national organization represents – United States – that coexist for mutual benefit and held by covenant under limited central oversight. We also know this as States Rights. Today’s ridiculous federal powers has grown way past the limits our founders envisioned. Thus is the reasoning behind much of the intent relating to the Bill of Rights and republicanism! (BTW, republicanism has nothing to do with the party specifically) What of the term ‘Republic’ as stated in the U.S. Constitution: Article IV? NO mention of democratic, democracy, or any other form of government theory!

    With that in mind, many times we are erroneously referred to as a “Representative Democracy.” Really, I thought we were a Democratic Republic? So which are we Law Professor? A Democratic Republic or the later? We can’t be both at the same time can we? The truth? We are neither! For kicks, Wikipedia (don’t trust them) states that James Madison (he wrote pretty much the entire constitution) “originally developed…and notably employed…Representative Democracy” in Federalist Paper No. 10. In fact, if you read #10 there is no mention of “Representative Democracy’ anywhere in the document! He specifically dismantles the use of democracy as a means of government. The authors on Wikipedia imply Madison’s intent. Liars! Propaganda? Or is this the perpetuation of falsehoods due to misunderstanding? Try this one on for size: “Republicanism is not the same as democracy, for republicanism asserts that people have unalienable rights that cannot be voted away by a majority of voters.” Gee, where have I seen the term ‘Unalienable’ right before? Maybe ‘The unanimous Declaration of Independence’ for starters. This quote, too, is from Wikipedia. So I guess we’re not a democracy after all? The constitution seems to take that view–plainly! I’ve seen every form of idea and quote in my children’s history/government textbooks on this subject. Wow! This is just a fraction of the confusion that confounds our citizenry and policy makers in the halls of government. Doesn’t seem like we American citizens should be casually throwing around the term Democracy as is so often the case–should we?

    So get over your credentials. If, in fact, you are a professor, then I seriously doubt you’re teaching the fundamentals of our government as presented in our Constitution, and furthermore, are instead teaching agenda-based curricula. Thus the reason for my concern with the Constitutional Studies program at UVU or any other campus in this country!

    PS: There were white folk who couldn’t vote either–not just women and blacks. It was called “land-holder” in those days. It was seen as a way to ensure democracy never could create a welfare state. Go figure -

  • Rational Liberal said:

    Well Stated CitizenAuthority. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”

    The United States gave up the right to be United when we passed the 17th amendment, which took away the representation of the individual states in the federal government and gave the democratic vote to the citizens. Now each state has two more citizen representatives in congress and yet we have two separate bodies in the congress. Seems to me that we have no more state’s rights and that we have moved closer to mobocracy.

    In a democracy, all of my neighbors can vote me out of the neighborhood, or can loot my property, based on their vote. Unfortunately, we currently practice a form of mobocracy, which entitles citizens to vote against businesses and then take from them, based on the good of the whole of society, their intellectual property. We have been taught that business is bad, labor is in need, and to be employed is the greatest thing we can do for our country. To consume is divine, but to produce, only for the benefit of one’s self, is evil. To create with no social intention is unjust, immoral and wrong. But to sacrifice is the greatest thing a man can do. Is it? Should we all sacrifice our minds, our talents, our abilities for the good of the whole? Should we let our neighbors vote us away? No. The Constitution was set up to protect our rights, our properties, our lives from harm, especially from our government.

    I would like to see these things taught in school. Let’s see if they can continue with this after they teach what CitizenAuthority wrote.

    And yes, I am a Rational Liberal, but not a tea partier. rationalliberal.wordpress.com

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