UC Berkeley Students Oppose USA PATRIOT Act

March 5, 2003 12:00 am

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Students Join 50 Other Communities Nationwide That Have Passed Similar Resolutions


BERKELEY, CA — In a resolution passed late this evening by a vote of 18-0 with one abstention, the senate of the Associated Students of the University of California at Berkeley called upon campus administrators oppose the USA PATRIOT Act and “continue to preserve and uphold students’ freedom of speech, assembly, association, and privacy, the right to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

“As Berkeley students, we must stand up against this massive attack on civil liberties,” said Dan Komarek, co-president of the Berkeley chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “I am proud that our student government passed this resolution without dissention. Senators from all parties, whether Republican or progressive, voted together to protect the rights of students and all people.”

The student group joins 50 other communities nationwide that have passed resolutions opposed to the 342-page USA PATRIOT Act passed on October 26, 2001.

The Berkeley students are particularly concerned about provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act and related Executive Orders that:

  • Violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution through the expansion of the government’s ability to wiretap telephones, monitor e-mail communications, survey medical, financial and student records, and secretly enter homes and offices without customary administrative oversight or without showing of probable cause;
  • Violate the First Amendment to the Constitution by limiting the freedom of association and assembly;
  • Give law enforcement expanded authority to obtain library records and prohibits librarians from informing patrons of monitoring or information requests;
  • Grant unchecked powers to the Attorney General and the U.S. Secretary of State to designate legally organized, domestic groups as “terrorist organizations,” while lifting administrative regulations on covert, surveillance counter-intelligence operations by the F.B.I. that in the past have targeted domestic groups and individuals;
  • Violate the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution by establishing secret military tribunals, and in subjecting citizens and non-citizens to indefinite detention even when they have not been allowed access to an attorney, brought to trial, or even charged with a crime; and
  • Authorize eavesdropping on confidential communications between lawyers and their clients in federal custody.

The student group has also called upon the California congressional delegation to monitor the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act and to work actively toward the repeal of those portions that violate the Bill of Rights.

“I think this resolution sends a strong message to the UC President, the Chancellor and our elected officials that we will not tolerate the violation of our civil liberties and rights in the name of national security,” said Komarek.

Passage of this evening’s resolution comes on the heels of new “anti-terrorism” legislation drafted by the Department of Justice that goes further than the USA PATRIOT Act in eroding checks and balances on Presidential power and contains a number of measures that are of questionable effectiveness, but are sure to infringe on civil liberties.

More information on “USA PATRIOT II” can be found at /node/11495

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