Mercyhurst celebrates Constitution Day

This past Tuesday, Sept. 17, Mercyhurst campus, along with the rest of the United States celebrated the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.

Unlike the rest of the U.S., however, Mercyhurst students and faculty alike had the opportunity to gather at the Mercy Heritage Room Tuesday evening to listen to Tina Fryling, J.D., discuss some of the facts and flaws of the nation’s most scrutinized foundational document.

Fryling, an associate professor of criminal justice at Mercyhurst and member of the House of Delegates of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, began her lecture by saying that even on its 224th birthday, the U.S. Constitution remains “interesting and full of life.”

Judging by the standing-room-only crowd, it would appear she was right.

Though it was clear that some students were in attendance for a class requirement or extra-credit, there were still more there for the sole purpose of being refreshed on the concepts that shaped, and continue to shape the United States as we know it today.

Fryling went on to discuss the process that the Delegates went through in order to write the Constitution. Hearing about their intense schedule of debates, that ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 6 days a week for 100 days, made Mercyhurst’s new semester system seem less murderous.

She then talked about the most pressing issues in our society today, the issues that have people running back to reference the constitution; the three main ones being the NSA spying, gun laws and New York’s new “Stop and Frisk” policies.

“The Framers were not concerned about Facebook,” Fryling said while speaking on the NSA controversy. She said with confidence that the Framers would have been strongly against the recent invasions of the NSA.

Fryling talked positively about the Constitution throughout most of the lecture, stating that it is still “absolutely as relevant as it was when it was written.” She summed up part of her admiration for it by quoting Will Rogers, who said that “Our Constitution protects aliens, drunks and U.S. senators.”

Fryling said she does not think the Constitution “makes everything right,” saying that we, as citizens, “have to challenge it.”

However, regarding the flaws of the U.S. government, she went on to say, “At least we’re able to dialog about it.” The beauty of the United States, then, is “the fact that we know things are happening and that people can say things.”

“Nobody stops you on your way to class and says ‘let me search your book bag,” she states. “… and if they do, come see me.”