The Chronicle of Higher Education reports: "Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat and the Senates unofficial constitutional scholar, has inserted language into the final $388-billion spending bill for 2005 requiring that any educational institution that receives federal aid offer its students an instructional program on the U.S. Constitution each September 17, the anniversary of its signing.
The provision took higher-education leaders by surprise. They said they had not been consulted about it.
In a written statement, Senator Byrd said Americans need to better understand the Constitution and its importance. We can build upon the respect and reverence we still hold for our Constitution, the senator said. But we had better start now, before, through ignorance and apathy, even that much slips away from us."
I am, of course, not in favor of the Feds making any kind of demands on colleges, (even good ones), yet, I would like to point out that the Ashbrook Cednter already has a program in place. We not only study the Constitution in our classes, etc., but we gather every Constitution Day for an evening lecture by someone. This September 17th it was Hadley Arkes speaking onn the Constitution. Preceding years we have had William B. Allen, David Forte, and Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, among others.