Telecommunications Law Students Visit National Constitution Center and Independence Hall

On Tuesday November 18, Dr. Whalen and her Telecommunications Law class went on a two day trip to the visit a variety of historical and cultural landmarks in Philadelphia, PA. First on their stop was the National Constitution Center.

Dr. Whalen and her students had the opportunity to explore several venues while in Philadelphia, from museum exhibits to a Freedom Rising Program, as well as a Living News Program at the National Constitution Center. The events were described as “headlines brought to life by a dynamic, 25 minute performance incorporating video, contemporary music, and current news broadcasts.”

Students pose with the statue of George Washington outside of  Independence Hall (Dr. Sheri Whalen).
Students pose with the statue of George Washington outside of Independence Hall (Dr. Sheri Whalen).

The Living News Program consisted of three engaging actors who portray multiple roles, introducing controversial constitutional issues and encouraged the students to explore their own points of view on the matter. After the programs, students received the chance to engage in dialogue with the museum’s educational staff after the show.  The students were also able to observe a panel hearing on the issue of the Supreme Court, which posed the question, “Is the Supreme Court Objective?”  The panel discussion leader’s featured distinguished constitutional scholars Erwin Chemerinsky, and Nicholas Quinn RosenKranz, who tackled controversial questions regarding the Supreme Courts objectivism, analyzing Supreme Court rulings over the last 200 years. Students also had the chance to explore Ben Franklin’s museum, received a tour of Independence Hall and viewed the famous Liberty Bell.

The group of students sit in Independence Hall (Dr. Sheri Whalen).
The group of students sit in Independence Hall (Dr. Sheri Whalen).


Katie McCartney, a member of this trip stated “This trip was all about The Supreme Court and the constitution, it was really cool. I think my favorite part was the Ben Franklin Museum. He is really interesting, and he had so much influence on the Declaration of Independence and the constitution, and just shaping our constitution overall.”

Nate Hutchings commented on his favorite moments as well, asserting “Looking at it in retrospect, it’s interesting how much history is concentrated in one place in Philadelphia. You have things like Ben Franklin’s house and Independence Hall. The places where Congress and the Supreme Court used to meet while DC used to be built, and it’s all within walking distance within each other. So, that was interesting to think I’m standing where the Declaration of Independence was signed, where the Supreme Court met, and it’s all right there.”

Robert Velisek, a senior here at Frostburg State had this to say. “I liked the constitution center the best. I like the shows that went on in the Constitution center. There was also a really cool light show. It was the history of America, all the issues coming from the revolutionary war, and went into modern day. It was really interesting to see, it was just cultured fun.” Quinton Brown, a senior stated “What I liked about our trip, the debate was my favorite part. Chemerinsky was real insightful. I liked his perspective on government regulation and how Supreme Court can’t really be objective, because they are human. It was unexpedectly better than I thought. It was a lot of fun. We should definitely take trips like this more often.”

One student said, “This opportunity allowed me to learn more about history and things that affect us as a society today. I think Professor Whalen should do trips like this more often because they are a great experience and the students learn a great deal of information about our history.”

Another student said, “Overall this trip was wonderful and I would love to attend another. I was inspired by these eight burglars who felt the need to expose some knowledge they had to the public. From networking with Johanna Hamilton, to visiting all of Philadelphia’s historical sites, to bonding with my peers in the hotel, this trip was wonderful.”

Dr. Whalen formerly took her students on a similar trip in May of last year. Students were able to view the debut screening of “1971,” a documentary about members of the Citizens’ Commission who broke into the FBI office in Media, PA and exposed the illegal activities of the federal government.  Students of this trip got the chance to interact personally with not only the burglars of this documentary, but also the director of 1971 at a reception after the screening at the National Constitution Center.  Whalen said that, even then, students enjoyed this trip immensely. Whalen stated that “Students said they enjoyed and learned a lot from this trip.”

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