On Friday, September 17, UVA Wise hosted a Constitution Day event to celebrate the signing of one of the most influential documents in American history, the U.S. Constitution. The Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney for Wise County Chuck Slemp joined a group of students, faculty and staff in the Leonard Sandridge Science Center lecture hall and online via Zoom for a presentation titled “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Criminals: Our Constitution and Your Right to Remain Innocent.”
As Slemp entered the room, he donned a white powdered wig and suit similar to that of Thomas Jefferson and exclaimed that today was the 234th birthday of the United States government, a day to not just know our rights, but celebrate.
Slemp began his lecture about how the Constitution would serve as a guide for two other important documents, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. He would go on to share an overview of how these laws came to be starting with the Magna Carta signing on June 15, 1215, and then shared the current laws and examples of them being enforced by law enforcement, government and the citizens of the United States.
“The values that were enshrined in our Constitution so long ago will keep your rear end out of the slammer. And for that reason, every single one of us should not just know these rights, not just celebrate these rights, but pay very close attention to these rights,” said Slemp.
He then helped the audience understand that these documents outline the work of law enforcement and government, showed how these laws would help them stay out of trouble, and explained ways to better know their rights as citizens.
Slemp ended the lecture by reminding the audience that the Constitution is something that should be celebrated, and that it protects us even when we don’t know we need protection.
Slemp is currently the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney for Wise County and serves as an adjust instructor for 10 years at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Regent University. Slemp holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, a master of arts degree in law and public policy and juris doctor degree from Regent University School of Law, and has completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Oxford.