Portrait of Dr. Patrick G. Coy

Sept. 18, 2017

  • “The Right to Dissent”
    10 a.m., Duda Hall, Room 103
  •  [Un]truths and Consequences (two sessions)
    1 p.m. and 2 p.m., Manderino Library, Room 208

Programs marking Constitution Day 2017 address two timely topics: the right to dissent and how to distinguish valid information from so-called “fake news.”

Both programs are free and open to the entire campus community, as well as the general public.

‘The Right to Dissent”

Dr. Patrick G. Coy, director of Kent State University’s School of Peace and Conflict Studies, will discuss “The Right to Dissent,” a freedom protected by the Constitution, at 10 a.m. in Duda Hall.

A Kent State professor since 1996, Coy is renowned for his scholarship in the field of peace activism.

He is the long-time editor of the peer-reviewed academic research series Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, and he leads workshops in various aspects of conflict resolution, mediation and nonviolent action to community, educational and international groups.

Coy has worked as a community mediator and as a human rights observer and nonviolent accompanier in Sri Lanka during the ethnic conflict in that nation. He also has co-led or been a member of peacemaking missions and delegations to Libya, Iraq and the Soviet Union during international crises.

Coy is a former national chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a research fellow of the Albert Einstein Institution, executive director of the Lentz Peace Research Laboratory, and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Botswana.

Last month, the Peace, War and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA) presented Coy with the Robin M. Williams Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship, Teaching and Service in the areas of peace, war and social conflict.

“Dr. Coy’s message of nonviolent direct action is reminiscent of Gandhi’s and King's teachings,” said Dr. Melanie Blumberg, a political science professor in the Department of History, Politics and Society, as well as the campus director of the American Democracy Project.

“His campus visit could not be more timely.”

[Un]Truth and Consequences

William Meloy and Loring Prest, faculty members in Cal U’s Department of Library Services, will mark Constitution Day by conducting consecutive interactive sessions on how to identify valid sources on the Internet at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Manderino Library.

Although the recent U.S. presidential election brought so-called “fake news” into focus, an educated citizenry has always had to differentiate fact from fiction in the news, the presenters say.

They note that a free press is considered an essential element of democracy and is protected by the Bill of Rights.

Prest and Meloy will discuss the skills needed to judge the validity of online sources, including news outlets, and provide examples for participants to examine.

Prest is a professor and electronic resources librarian. Meloy, chair of the Department of Library Services, is an associate professor and the research and electronic collections librarian.

“More than at any other time in our nation’s history, people need to be sophisticated consumers of information,” Blumberg said.

“If not, as Ruben Blades, the actor, said: "I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance."  

About Constitution Day at Cal U

All schools that receive federal funds are mandated to observe Constitution Day, which commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution.

This year’s Constitution Day program is presented by the campus chapter of the American Democracy Project, the Office of the Provost/Academic Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Department of History, Politics and Society.

Blumberg and Drs. Laura Tuennerman and Emily Sweitzer, also professors in the Department of History, Politics and Society, are co-coordinators of the event.