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Young Americans for Liberty shed light on the Fourth Amendment

By Bitania Yemane, News Editor

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     Bloomsburg University’s Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) held a privacy rights awareness event last Wednesday afternoon at the Academic Quad where they discussed about the Fourth Amendment and the need to restore privacy rights in light of the 16th anniversary of the Patriot Act.

     “We enjoyed a sizable turnout at the event,” said Catherine Rose, YAL chapter president at BU,“Our setup encouraged an invigorating discussion about citizens’ rights and personal liberties.”

     A table was set outside of McCormick where Rose and Ben England, Leadership Institute and former Young Americans for Liberty chapter president, acted out as officers searching through student’s belongings to send a message about privacy rights.

     “As students walked through campus, we acted as government surveillance officers and issued “top secret warrants” to students for trivial offenses like wearing a red shirt or carrying a bag.  We would ask to search their bag or phone.  The reaction we wanted—and received—was a sort of “what the heck?!” response; this was to illustrate the absurdity of the government’s ability to search citizens without reasonable evidence,” said Rose.

     Students then had the chance to express their thoughts about the Fourth Amendment while the organization was able to raise awareness and inform students on campus about the topic.

     “We then pointed them to a large poster at our table that compared personal liberties and government surveillance in various categories such as monetary transactions and private video cameras,” said Rose, “This acted as a poll for students to express whether they felt the government should have absolute authority with information or if personal liberties should take precedence.  As a result, we raised great awareness of big government and defending liberty.  We also collected fifty-two new sign-ups for our reforming club.”

     In response to the 9/11 terror attacks, the Patriot Act was passed by the George Bush administration on October 26, 2001. YAL organized this event to coincide with the Patriot Act’s passage in 2001.

     “We believe the Patriot Act violates the Fourth Amendment and we need to restore constitutional rights to privacy,” said Pooja Bachani, Director of Communications YAL. “From a national perspective, we felt it was important to raise this issue on campuses because it is important that every student is aware of what their government is doing. This is an issue that affects everyone, including you and me. The federal government is clearly violating the Fourth Amendment. We at YAL believe in the Constitution and the ideas of liberty, and this campaign is part of our efforts to defend the ideas we believe in.”

     “YAL feels the Patriot Act violates the Fourth Amendment, which contends that we are protected against “unreasonable searches and seizures” and that there must be “probable cause” for searches,” said Rose, “College students should be made aware of their constitutional rights and this event certainly helped promote that idea.”

 

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Young Americans for Liberty shed light on the Fourth Amendment