University of Baltimore Student Newspaper Hosts First Amendment Festival on Sept. 17

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Celebration of free speech rights held on Constitution Day.

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Our goal isn't to offend anyone, but we hope to enlighten the community about its rights and how they can be taken for granted. It's hard to believe that, in the 21st century, there are still countries where citizens don't have the freedoms that we have in America.

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The UB Post will host a First Amendment Free Food Festival on Monday, Sept. 17, Constitution Day, from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on the University of Baltimore's Gordon Plaza. This unique, interactive event will give students and others a glimpse into what life would be like without the free speech rights -- freedom of the press, freedom of speech, the right to assemble, freedom of religion, and the right to petition the government -- guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The event is free and open to the public. Gordon Plaza is located at the corner of Maryland and W. Mt. Royal avenues.

Here is how the festival will work:

  •      Guests will "sign away" their First Amendment rights in order to enter a fenced-off area of the plaza, where free food, drink and other giveaways will be available to all participants.
  •      Select students will act as "enforcers" to demonstrate to participants what it means to live without First Amendment rights.
  •      In addition to the enforcers, there will be staged performance pieces to demonstrate what happens when First Amendment rights are taken away.

Nedra Cruz, a graduate student in UB's publications design program and editor in chief of The UB Post, said the idea for the festival came from a college newspaper convention that she attended last spring. While there, she learned that Florida Atlantic University had successfully hosted a festival about the First Amendment, and their students believed it was a good way to recognize Constitution Day. Post staff members talked with their counterparts at Florida Atlantic's student newspaper, and Cruz and her fellow students decided to bring the idea to UB.

"We're recognizing Constitution Day, but we're doing it in a fun, festive way so that students can enjoy -- and nourish -- themselves while coming to appreciate their First Amendment Rights," Cruz said. "Our goal isn't to offend anyone, but we hope to enlighten the community about its rights and how they can be taken for granted. It's hard to believe that, in the 21st century, there are still countries where citizens don't have the freedoms that we have in America."

The UB Post is the student-run monthly newspaper of the University of Baltimore.

The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Merrick School of Business.

For more information, contact:
Nedra Cruz
410.837.4029
ubpost @ ubalt.edu

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