September 19, 2007

TIME OUT: A Strong Constitution

When I became an editor for the student newspaper, one of the first assignments I handed out was covering the college's Constitution Day activities.

A history professor dressed as Ben Franklin and answered questions that no one asked. Student Life passed out pocket-sized Constitutions and, at noon, Big Brother broadcast the Pledge of Allegiance (or something similar) on all the campus view screens.


Each subsequent year, this event allowed me to guide a newbie reporter through his or her first news assignment -- covering Constitution Day.

Well, this year, my college forgot to celebrate Constitution Day.

Truthfully, I only remembered it after reading the headline from NewsU's Access blog, "Censorship Update on Constitution Day."

So my college forgot. Who cares, right?

It's actually a big deal because federal law mandates that all schools receiving federal funds must offer an educational program on Sept. 17, Constitution and Citizenship Day.

JCCC did not.

The point? Sometimes those annual stories (Constitution Day, Last day to drop a class, Snow closes college) get a new twist when those running an institution take those process for granted.

It's the job of a student journalist to hold the institution accountable when it does -- and that's what I did.