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BG Falcon Media

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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Students should question authority

After 30 years of teaching BGSU students constitutional law, Professor Steven Ludd said, “we’re in trouble.”

Today’s generation of students don’t question authority, he said.

Ludd highlighted individual liberties and responsibilities, and focused on how the writers of the U.S. constitution sought to “balance two competing ideas: liberty and order and justice.”

A child of the sixties, Ludd said it wasn’t hard to become active in a decade where a president was assassinated and an undeclared war claimed the lives of over 50,000 Americans.

Today there are several issues that once again question what the balance of liberties and order and justice should be, such as the Patriot Act, the War on Terrorism and the debate over abortion.

“Everyone has an opinion and so few people have an understanding,” Ludd said.

Ludd said many people – referring to students in particular – accept majoritarian power without question.

“To question authority is a patriotic act,” Ludd said.

University student Kylien Schellhause, senior, was impressed with Ludd’s enthusiasm.

“I’m amazed that after 30 years of teaching that he still has that kind of energy and passion for the constitution, and that he genuinely cares about the students.”

For instance Bowling Green has a noise ordinance that Student Legal Services is currently challenging.

He said they are challenging the law’s constitutionality because “it is so over broad and vague the reasonably prudent person would not be able to conform their behavior to it.”

But one of Ludd’s greatest concerns is that this law is being applied to a select group of people instead of the entire city.

“I doubt that the authorities came knocking on our city leaders’ doors after everyone has had a few drinks at their daughters’ graduation parties.”

That isn’t to say, one should not respect the laws of the land, however people “have the right to know what’s going on,” Ludd said.

Civil liberties are diminishing in order to maintain safety.

And Ludd thinks the federal government has gone too far.

The sixth amendment guarantees a fair and speedy trial. However post-9/11 congress has made exceptions.

One such exception is Jose Padilla. According to a CNN report, he is the man suspected of conspiring with Al-Qaida to set off a radioactive “dirty bomb” in U.S. apartments.

Without ever being charged, Padilla has been detained in a military jail in Charleston, S. C. for three years.

Ludd said this is wrong. He should be innocent until prove guilty.

“Padilla should have counsel. Padilla should have a trial,” he said.

The sixth amendment isn’t the only part of the Bill of Rights under scrutiny.

According to Ludd the ninth amendment could potentially impact more people than any other amendment.

Ludd said the government recognized it couldn’t possibly cover all the rights of the people quoting the ninth amendment “All those rights shall not be disparaged, but retained by the people.”

It is through the ninth amendment that justices have been able to expand other amendments, such as the right to privacy.

Ludd said it was used to obtain legal birth control pills, condoms, and the landmark Roe vs. Wade case legalizing abortion, which people are still questioning.

Many of these powerful questions need to be addressed in the next few years, Ludd said.

Addressing these issues is part of citizenship, something Ludd said schools are doing a poor job of teaching.

He said they make children spout facts without allowing them to think for themselves and question the government’s motives.

Speaking on the idea of teaching children to question authority Ludd asked, “Can’t we reward respect for law and government and at same time recognize its failures?”

Ludd stressed U.S. citizens should question authority respectfully.

But said people should “accept personal responsibility.”

“I have to be responsible for the actions of my government,” Ludd said.

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