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President's Office | Letter Re: Constitution Day, 2006

Constitution Day: Is Free Speech in Danger?

TO:  The Trinity Community

FR:  President Patricia McGuire

RE:  Constitution Day:  Monday, September 18

Congress has mandated that all universities receiving federal financial aid must celebrate Constitution Day.  This year, Constitution Day falls on a Sunday (September 17) so we move the actual observance to Monday, September 18.

This requirement gives the Trinity community an opportunity to reconsider the freedoms that are essential to teaching and learning:  freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of belief.  These are all part of the First Amendment to the Constitution.

This year, as we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, some Americans wonder if the War on Terror has compromised our basic freedoms.  Debate swirls around questions of the balance between freedom and security.  If we want our government to protect us, how much freedom are we willing to give up?

On Constitution Day, let’s hear your comments about Freedom of Speech in the Age of Terror.  Is Free Speech in danger?  Should there be limits on what people can say, teach, write, portray in movies, sing about in songs?

What is your opinion?  Exercise your Freedom of Speech!

You can post your opinion on a “Free Speech” posterboard that we will maintain in the Well all week. Or, you can email me your thoughts and I will see that they are posted on the board.  I will also publish your ideas in my blog on the website.

Thanks to all for cherishing our Constitution by exercising Free Speech — not just on Monday, not just on Constitution Day, but always.

I also urge members of the faculty to consider other ways to incorporate the Bill of Rights or ideas about the Constitution in your classes next week.


Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email:



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