Is the Constitution 'exclusionary'? Students react (VIDEO)
- Syracuse University denied registered club status to a conservative group in part because of its strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution.
- The university did so because it said the Constitution could be "exclusionary" to some students.
- Campus Reform asked students on the New York State campus if they agreed.
In February 2019, Syracuse University created a stir when it denied registered club status to a Young Americans for Freedom chapter on campus.
In a statement explaining the decision, the university cited, in part, the group's strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution, saying, “requiring students to agree in the superiority of the U.S. Constitution is exclusionary to international students and other individuals.” Wanting to know if students at the university agree with that position, Campus Reform Correspondent and Syracuse student Justine Murray went to ask.
After explaining the situation to student participants, Justine asked simply, “is the Constitution exclusionary?”
Some of their responses may surprise you.
“I think it’s exclusionary not just to students, but to people all across the United States,” one student said, while another added, “I think that there’s definitely elements of the Constitution that are exclusionary to some students.”
“I think it could be read as that. I’m not up to date with my reading of the U.S. Constitution, but I could see how the University could take that view of it," the student continued.
One student who agreed with the university said that “although it’s been amended, there are still lots of laws in place that still discriminate… and they use the Constitution as justification for that.”
But when asked to elaborate, she admitted, “I’m sorry, I feel like that doesn’t really make sense. I thought about it. I can write a paper on it, but right now I didn’t expect you to go into detail.”
There were, however, students who disagreed with the university's opinion.
One student agreed that the Constitution was exclusionary when it was made, but said "it’s still the basis on which we stand as a country. [The university] may disagree with it, but they shouldn’t be able to restrict any clubs from stating that in their mission statement."
“To say the Constitution excludes certain people is sort of absurd,” another student told Campus Reform.
One student conceded the university is “maybe trying to fit us into a mold.” When asked what that mold might be, she said “I do believe this campus is very liberal. I think a lot of the things they do and programs they hold, things they allow reinforce those views.”