UND to host Constitution Day event on Friday, Sept. 16


Rob Carolin

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Law


Program features video and discussion of FBI Director James B. Comey’s 2015 speech on law enforcement and race

The University of North Dakota School of Law, in partnership with the Department of Political Science & Public Administration at UND, will host UND's Constitution Day event at 11 a.m. FRIDAY, Sept. 16, in the law school's Molbert Room (Room 203).

The program will feature a video of FBI Director James B. Comey’s 2015 speech at Georgetown University, “Hard Truths: Law Enforcement and Race.” Immediately following the video, Professor Benjamin Kassow, UND Political Science & Public Administration, and Law School Dean Kathryn Rand will facilitate a discussion. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.

James B. Comey - “Hard Truths: Law Enforcement and Race” - In 2015, after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the chokehold-related death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, and the subsequent shootings of NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, FBI Director Comey gave a speech addressing “the difficult relationship between law enforcement and the communities we are sworn to serve and protect,” including questions of unconscious bias, racism, and socioeconomic status.

More recently, during a July 2016 congressional hearing, members of the Congressional Black Caucus raised the shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, calling for Comey to take action.

Comey’s speech, as well as subsequent deaths of both civilians and officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, raise several questions of constitutional law, including equal protection, due process, and Second Amendment rights.

These events also provide the opportunity to consider through dialogue the role of universities in advancing knowledge as well as addressing and resolving society’s most difficult challenges.

Annual Constitution Day Celebration - Constitution Day recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It generally is observed on September 17,the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787; this year, Constitution Day is observed on September 16 to allow programming on a weekday. The 2004 law establishing the holiday was part of a congressional bill mandating that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.