SF State to host 15th annual Constitution Day Conference

This Monday and Tuesday, SF State’s history department will host its annual on-campus Constitution Day Conference. 

The event, which conference coordinator Marc Stein named “Rights and Wrongs” during his five years in the position, started after Congress passed a law establishing Constitution and Citizenship Day as Sept. 17. The two sessions will be about women’s rights in honor or the upcoming 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, Stein said.

  “In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education issued regulations for implementing the new law, which requires all colleges and universities that receive federal funds to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, with educational programming that focuses on the history of the U.S. Constitution” Stein wrote in an email.

Conference planners develop a call for papers under the broad topics of constitutional law or citizenship rights, but the sessions end up reflecting community interest based on the responses, which are mostly by California professors.   

“We try to round out the program by initiating some of the sessions ourselves,” Stein said. “So we do that through the two keynote speakers, that’s why we have one of the keynoters from Arizona. But also in all honestly it’s also a question about budgeting and logistics.”

The conference often falls during the work week, making it difficult for out of state professors to miss classes to come speak, Stein said. Along with scheduling challenges, the $4500-6000 budget for the conference only allows for an honorarium for two keynote speakers. 

Stein said that although students may have opposing views on the issues discussed at the conference, the response to having the program has been positive.

“They really seem to appreciate the opportunity to hear from a wide range of opinions to learn about issues that really matter in their lives,” Stein said. “Whether it’s about immigration rights or it’s about religious freedom or voting rights or labor law or any number of issues.

Over 1000 people attended over the last four years, Stein said. The conference will span over Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. between library event rooms and Jack Adams Hall in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. 

Conference program can be found here.