UTICA,NY (WUTR)– In honor of Constitution Day, Mohawk Valley Community College hosted a panelist discussion focusing on the history and importance of the 1st Amendment.
“We can look at the Constitution and the 1st Amendment specifically, or any of the amendments as something as static. I think that we need to every so often look at these documents, look at the new technology– where we evolved as a society, and then see if we need to tweak these documents,” stated Stacey McCall, history professor at MVCC.
Technology is one of the major ways our society has changed since the document was written. And while the the Constitution’s 1st Amendment protects freedom of speech, today’s social media and communications outlets can sometimes create a challenge.
“It brings a lot of things to people’s attention that was not done in the past,” explained William Zigby, an associate history and ethics professor. “One of the negatives about it though, is that social media tends to take the 1st Amendment and never takes into consideration what the words really meant when the founding fathers used them.”
And since the amendment is open to legal interpretation, freedom of speech can have limitations.
“I think society as a whole and our communities really need to have open conversations about the right for freedom of speech and free expression, but what extent should we place limits on that?” said McCall. “And when it leads to people being intimidated, threatened, and bullied, and that leads to suicide,than I think we have a right to check that.”