University of Central Oklahoma
University of Central Oklahoma celebrated a successful First Amendment Day on April 25, 2019, with events scheduled on the Edmond campus throughout the day. The day was so successful that University of Central Oklahoma University President Don Betz has suggested that it occur yearly.
Speaking to students, Betz emphasized the importance of First
Amendment freedoms, saying several times throughout the day, “We cannot be silent.”
The value of the First Amendment was also emphasized in the numerous Post-It-Notes placed on the First Amendment Board in the student center. It was debated throughout the day on campus panels.
Hundreds of people, including President Betz, participated in a march celebrating the five freedoms – speech, press, religion, assembly and petition. Leading the march was none other than James Madison, author of the First Amendment, as portrayed by a student, First Amendment Day co-director Trevor Stone. (The other student First Amendment Day co-director was Erin Barnett.) One professor, Mike Breslin, carried an American flag.
Enthusiasm for the First Amendment was shown in the photos submitted for the high school First Amendment Day photo contest, and in the college First Amendment Day essay contest.
UCO’s First Amendment Day received coverage from state, local and campus TV and news organizations. It was announced at communitywide events, and was pushed on the university’s multiple social media channels.
At a luncheon at the UCO Journalism Hall of Fame, university presidents, deans, journalists, regents and other dignitaries from throughout the state heard about the day and all received the First Amendment Day programs and buttons.