GSA resolution opposes USA Patriot Act

    The Graduate Student Association unanimously passed a resolution to oppose the USA Patriot Act on June 2. The resolution, which was authored and introduced to the council by GSA representative Kenny Burch and graduate student Omar Clay, opposes the Patriot Act due to the impact it has had on the graduate and research community at both the university and nationwide level.

    The act, passed after 9/11, sought to broadens the government’s power to investigate and prevent terrorist activities.

    Burch, a GSA representative from the physics department, said he was motivated to write the resolution after hearing about instances of problems created for international students after the passage of the act.

    “”A number of foreign students in my department have been having trouble due to the passage of the Patriot Act,”” Burch said. “”For example, people have gone home for visits of about a week and end up getting detained there for as long as two months because they have trouble getting visas. If you’re a graduate student, that significantly delays your research.””

    Burch said he initially researched the information and services UCSD offered to students regarding the Patriot Act and found no information, which concerned him because he felt it was “”not clear how the university is or is not responding to the Patriot Act.””

    This, he said, prompted him to write the resolution, asking the university administration “”engage and participate in community dialogue on civil liberties issues, in order to promote the safety and well-being of the UCSD community,”” and that it “”recognize the commitment it has to uphold the legal and human rights of all UC students.””

    The resolution also speaks out against portions of the Patriot Act that allow for governmental intrusion into what was formerly considered private information, such as library and academic records, without requiring notification of the individual whose records are being examined.

    The GSA is not the first organization to pass a resolution against the USA Patriot Act. The resolution cites “”over 112 cities and counties from around the country … [that] have passed similar resolutions reinforcing local efforts to support and defend legal and human rights of their residents.””

    Eleanor Roosevelt College Sophomore Senator Max Harrington said that he is considering introducing a similar resolution to the A.S. Council next year.

    “”[Burch] felt that it would get the issue on the radar screen and open up a dialogue with the administration,”” Harrington said. “”I think that the resolution was great, but I’d like to see any A.S. resolution address specific violations.””

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