The USA PATRIOT Act vs. the Constitution

A decade after the events that brought us a signed USA Patriot Act (a clever acronym for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001), the Government Documents Department of Henderson Library, along with Student Media, Office of Financial Aid, Student Govern-ment Association, and the Dean of Students Office will host a panel discussion of what the Patriot Act has done to change Constitutional rights.

Join us on Monday, Sept. 12th, 7-8:30 pm in Georgia Southern’s Williams Center Multipurpose Room for a lively discussion as we commemorate 2011 Constitution Day. The event is free and open to everyone.

The program will begin with a video of GSU student interviews in which they tell how they were impacted by 9/11 for the first 10 minutes to make the discussion more meaningful and relevant to the students. There will be free stuff and attendance verification will be provided. Student organizations will assist students with registering to vote. We’ve planned this panel to be fast-paced and engaging, with some questions posed by the moderator, then a large segment of time for students to ask their own questions.

Dr. Debra Sabia will moderate a panel of three Georgia Southern scholars and one federal employee. Dr. Darin Van Tassell from the Center for International Studies, Dr. Richard Pacelle from Political Science, and Dr. Johnathan O’Neill, Department Chair of History will join federal employee Mr. Scott Phillips in commemorating the terrible events of September 11, 2001 with a discussion of the quickly passed Patriot Act in the aftermath and that law’s impact on students’ (and everyone’s) Constitutional rights. They will consider awareness of the Patriot Act; whether it is achieving its objectives; whether citizens’ rights should ever be suspended; and if those rights are suspended, whether they can be reacquired.

Constitution Day events continue on Friday, Sept. 16th at noon with the Friends Fall Luncheon featuring Constitu-tional law scholar Dr. Dan Coenen, who will speak on the topic of health care law. The luncheon will be held in the Hospitality & Tourism dining room in the Family & Consumer Sciences Building. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling 912 478-5115.

–by Lori Gwinett, Government Documents Librarian

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