September 30, 2013
Constitutional issues stemming from the New York City Police
Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, the National Security Agency’s
domestic spying program and United States intervention in Syria
dominated this year’s
Constitution Day debates at St. John’s University.
The annual event, which is part of the
PARTICIPATE program, an initiative dedicated to promoting
greater student familiarity with the country’s political process,
took place Tuesday, September 16, on the Queens campus and
Wednesday, September 17, on the
Staten Island campus.
Brian Browne, Assistant Vice President for Government Relations,
moderated the Queens campus debate by members of the
College Republicans and the
Young Americans for Liberty. The audience was also invited to
The Office of
the Provost provided a table at the D’Angelo
Center with information about stop-and-frisk, Congressional
matters pending before Congress and basic facts about the
Constitution. Students also took online tests measuring their
knowledge of the Constitution.
Staten Island, a panel consisting of students and faculty members
focused on the constitutionality of the stop-and-frisk program.
Commentary was also provided by
Ellen Boegel, J.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and
Legal Studies, and
William Byrne, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Government and
Politics. Bryne complimented the student participants for making
the issue so understandable and said, “This has been a great
learning experience for everyone.”
Adia Cotten ’16C said the debate raised questions about aspects
of stop-and-frisk that she had not previously considered,
especially about stereotyping. “The speakers opened my eyes to the
many sides of this issue,” she said.
For Victor Serrano ’16C, the discussion helped him consider the
benefits of stop-and-frisk for the community as a whole. “There is
always going to be a good side and a bad side to everything,” he
Staten Island campus