Three Interpretations of the ConstitutionSeptember 01, 2004
Author: Renee Ballenger
On Wednesday, September 8, Southern Utah University President Steven D. Bennion, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Rodney Decker, and Assistant Professor of Political Science Stephen Roberds will debate the intentions of the founding fathers when they drafted the Constitution.
Students and members of the community are invited to hear whether the convention was a miracle, a compromise, or a plot of the rich against the poor -- and then form their own opinions about the birth of the U.S. Constitution.
President Bennion, who believes the Constitutional Convention was a miraculous event among the brightest of the time, says he is passionate about his conviction that the founding fathers put their self interests aside for the best of the country. Admitting though, that there may be some truth to all of the views to be presented next Wednesday, President Bennion says it is healthy to look at all three approaches.
“We agree to disagree and that’s what a university is all about,” President Bennion states. “Hopefully that tone will be a part of this and other topics where people have differing views.”
Dean Decker will argue that the Convention provided a “bundle” of compromises. “These were practical, experienced politicians who certainly had personal preferences but recognized that in order to get a necessary document approved, there had to be some give and take.” Decker continues, “There are some misinterpretations about the intentions of the founding fathers. For as important a document as it is, we need to have some feel of the truth of what it actually is.”
Professor Roberds, on the other hand, will argue the framers were the wealthy elite who were defending their own goals and ambitions. “They set out to design a constitution that would protect their financial and political interests,” he declares.
President Bennion adds that particularly in an election year, understanding the underpinnings of the Constitution and why it has worked for more than 200 years is critical to civil involvement.
At any rate, the lively discussion between these three gentlemen will surely prove to be educational, enlightening and entertaining. It will take place at the SUU Auditorium from 2-3:30 p.m. It is open and free to the public.