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Former ACLU President To Speak At Constitution Event At WestConn In Danbury

Nadine Strossen was president of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991 to 2008.
Nadine Strossen was president of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1991 to 2008. Photo Credit: Contributed

DANBURY, Conn. — The first woman to lead the national American Civil Liberties Union as president will be a guest speaker at Western Connecticut State University’s celebration of Constitution Day. 

Nadine Strossen, who was ACLU president from 1991 to 2008, will present a “Conversation about Current Constitutional Controversies: Same-Sex Marriage, Police/Community Tension, NSA Surveillance, and More” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room 125 of the Science Building on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St., Danbury.

The event also will include comments from Stephen Glassman, executive director of the Connecticut ACLU, as well as several other speakers.

Strossen said the ACLU always has been staunchly non-partisan and ideologically neutral, advocating civil liberties for clients and causes across the political spectrum. One of the ACLU’s most famous cases was defending the free speech rights of neo-Nazis to demonstrate in Skokie, Ill., a town with many Holocaust survivors.

“No matter who you are, and what your ideas are, you will strongly agree with some ACLU positions and strongly disagree with others,” Strossen said in a press release.

Of particular interest to students might be Strossen’s observations about rules that seek to govern sexual encounters between students. New and proposed “affirmative consent” requirements would require student couples to gain verbal agreement from each other at every stage of a physical and sexual encounter. 

“As often happens when society tries to solve a problem — in this case, too many campuses doing too little to protect against or punish sexual misconduct — it overreacts, causing new problems,” Strossen said in a press release. “These affirmative consent rules violate rights of due process and privacy. They reverse the usual presumption of innocence. Unless the guy can prove that his sexual partner affirmatively consented to every single contact, he is presumed guilty of sexual misconduct. Will people have to wear body cameras?”

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