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Bill of Rights display is timely reminder of American freedoms

Visitors to the Krannert Memorial Library may have noticed a new display in the second-floor study area. It’s called “The Bill of Rights and You!” The display is part of “Amending America,” a national initiative that explores the power of the Bill of Rights and the American system of government. 

Tanner Alexander, left, and Daniel Miller
Tanner Alexander, left, and Daniel Miller

Political science students at the University of Indianapolis say the Bill of Rights is worth some thought – and appreciation.

“To really appreciate the Bill of Rights, you’d have to think about where we’d be as a society if we didn’t have one,” said senior Tanner Alexander, a communications major with a minor in political science. “We wouldn’t have a free media. I wouldn’t be able to go peacefully protest if I wanted to.”

For starters, the First Amendment guarantees freedoms that many Americans might not spend much time thinking about on a daily basis: the freedom of religion, free speech, a free press, the right to assemble and the right to protest.

“When our country was first founded and we wrote our Constitution, we didn’t have a Bill of Rights. And we realized if we’re gonna have a country that’s by the people, for the people, we need to have rights for those people,” said junior Daniel Miller, a political science major with a pre-law focus.

Both Miller and Alexander are students of Laura Albright, assistant professor of political science at the University of Indianapolis, who helped bring the display to UIndy. Along with the Bill of Rights, they are finding their class discussions relevant to current political events.

Freedom of the press is one of the rights explicitly granted in the Bill of Rights. Both students weighed in on the media’s role in politics.

“This is not the first time the media’s been the focal point of discussion, especially among presidents,” said Alexander. “I don’t think the media’s gonna go anywhere. It’s the Fourth Estate for a reason. There are too many protections in place to keep that from happening.”

“I think the media will be here for a long time. I think without it, politics will just erupt into a very corrupt system,” Miller said.

These students hope that everyone who sees the display will think about why the Bill of Rights is so important, especially in light of contentious social media debates about politics.

Miller calls the Bill of Rights a beacon of hope. “It’s the reason why people come to America. It’s made it 225 years, so there’s some solidity to it,” he said.

Read more about the Bill of Rights here, or visit the display on the second floor of the Krannert Memorial Library.