Constitution Day events set at University of Idaho

Friday, September 3 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho- The University of Idaho will host a series of events on Friday, Sept. 17, recognizing Constitution Day.

The university’s main event will be a performance of “A Peculiar Evil: Silencing Expression in America.” The readers theater play was written by faculty member Dinah Zeiger, of the School of Journalism and Mass Media, with an original score composed for the performance by University of Idaho graduate Paul Taylor and performed by music students from the Lionel Hampton School of Music.

“A Peculiar Evil” dramatizes key moments in American history that tested government interference in freedom of expression.

“This project began as a way to interest non-law students in legal decisions affecting their right to speak out on issues of public concern,” Zeiger said. “The historical record became the platform for discussions about specific First Amendment U.S. Supreme Court cases in which our most fundamental beliefs were articulated,” she said.

“A Peculiar Evil” begins at 4 p.m. in the Kiva Theatre, 921 Campus Drive. Admission is free.

A panel discussion is also scheduled on Constitution Day. The panel brings together area specialists and professionals to discuss the protection of video-game violence as a freedom of expression.

Currently, a California law states that violent video-games will increase the likelihood of a child committing violent acts and suffering psychological harm. The panel discussion will focus on the California law, which is the central issue of a case that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court and whether the concept of obscenity extends to materials with violent themes. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend.

The panel includes Richard Seamon, University of Idaho College of Law faculty member; Shawn Lamebull, a doctoral student in American Studies at Washington State University; and Traci Craig; a University of Idaho Department of Psychology and Communication Studies faculty member. Steve Smith, School of Journalism and Mass Media lecturer and former editor of the Spokesman-Review (Wash.), will moderate the panel. The discussion will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in the Idaho Commons’ Whitewater Room.

Beginning Sept. 10 students will be able to voice their opinions about the constitutional protection of violent video-games and immigration policies such as Arizona State Bill 1070 on the “Writing on the Wall.” The wall, located near Room 023 on the Teaching and Learning Center’s west side, encourages students to participate in conversations about their constitutional rights by writing their opinions on wall panels. “Writing on the Wall” will hang in the TLC until Sept. 20.

Constitution Day is a federally mandated observance to memorialize the signing of the Constitution on that date in 1787.

“A Peculiar Evil: A History of Silencing Expression in America” is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of Idaho’s College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and the School of Journalism and Mass Media.

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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

Media Contacts: Robin Lee, Journalism and Mass Media Intern,; or Dinah Zeiger, Constitution Day Coordinator,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit