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Students’ Essays on Tolerance Commemorate Constitution Day

Hofstra University's Constitution Day celebration featured student participation as they shared personal experiences and reflections on tolerance and identity. The event, hosted by the Maurice A. Deane School of Law in collaboration with the ToleranceMeans Dialogue organization, aimed to promote empathy and open-mindedness in a diverse society.

Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, and this year, Hofstra took a unique approach by involving students in a dialogue discussion. President Susan Poser emphasized the changing demographics of the country, with no clear racial or ethnic majority, and how students today value tolerance as a badge of honor.


The event included a panel of legal experts, including William Eskridge, Jr., Robin Fretwell Wilson, and Julian Ku, who moderated the discussion. The discussion revolved around the importance of tolerance and empathy in today's society.


Leading up to Constitution Day, students were invited to submit essays sharing their experiences with intolerance related to issues like race, gender identity, sexual orientation, political views, or religious beliefs. Three student essay winners, Jamin Enquist, Ferida Osman, and Meredith Frank, were selected to read their entries and awarded $750 scholarships.


Enquist, president of Hofstra OUTLaw, discussed how college led him to question his beliefs and the importance of tolerance in personal growth.


Osman, a first-generation law student, shared her experience with religious discrimination in a post-9/11 world and how intolerance made her remove her hijab.


Frank, a Television Production & Studies major, discussed the privilege of pursuing higher education and the importance of tolerance in bridging differences.


The event highlighted the power of tolerance and the need for open dialogue to promote understanding and unity in a diverse community. The program was supported by a grant from the Templeton Foundation for "Dialogue on Differing Social Issues" and sponsored by various student organizations at Hofstra.


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