Temple University Students and Faculty Protest Academic Surveillance

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Universities should be sanctuaries of open communication, where the free flow of information is encouraged and allowed to thrive. When all of our communication is monitored, our abilities to learn and grow are severely impaired. We came to Temple University with the belief that we could pursue knowledge with confidence, without fearing that what we study, question or criticize could potentially be used against us. Given what we now know from Edward Snowden’s leaks regarding domestic mass surveillance, we no longer have that assurance. In an environment of mass surveillance, speech and academic freedom are chilled. People are afraid to freely express themselves and their opinions. What results is an environment which is toxic to the pursuit of knowledge.

We, as members of the Temple academic community, protest the NSA’s mass surveillance programs on the grounds that they are ineffective, are contrary to the spirit of the Fourth Amendment, and present huge potential for abuse.

The NSA can analyze our texts and instant messages, read our emails to friends and family, monitor our bank transactions and web browsing activity, and indefinitely store this information in searchable databases for later use.

What are the effects of these programs on our university population?

In March, Temple journalism student Ali Watkins broke a major national news story which exposed CIA surveillance of members of the Senate Intelligence Committee over a congressional report on the CIA’s “secret detention and interrogation program” [1]. Watkins cited sources who allege that the CIA monitored activity on computers that Senate aides used to prepare the report. Ali’s courageous decision to pursue this story in spite of the potential consequences is a testament to the determination of students to hold our government accountable for its actions. We join Ali in the pursuit of truth regarding these surveillance practices and call for an end to domestic spying on American citizens who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.

As members of the Temple University academic community, we sign this letter in protest. We protest the U.S. surveillance state and the chilling effects it has on our campus life. We call on the U.S. government to bring the NSA and intelligence community back within the bounds of the Constitution. We demand that our Fourth Amendment rights be restored.

With courage and hope,
Daniel Marcel ’15


Current Signatories


Shane Roxberry. Student. School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
Sean Murray. Alumnus. Fox School of Business.
Michael P. Geoghan. Student. College of Engineering.
Shenal Jules. Student. Fox School of Business.
Brandon Aubrey. Student. College of Science and Technology.
Ryan Shubert. Alumnus. Fox School of Business.
Edward Budnick. Student. School of Media and Communication.
Henry McGill. Student. School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
Jonathan Monk. Student. Fox School of Business.
Kyle Ryan Laskowski. Student. School of Media and Communication.
Kathleen Horan. Student. College of Liberal Arts.
Robert Goss. Alumnus. School of Media and Communication.
Katherine M. Prioli. Student. College of Science and Technology.
Mohamad Kheir. Student. Fox School of Business.
Carlos X. Bonilla. Student. College of Liberal Arts.
Shannon McCabe Student. Fox School of Business.
Parth Patel Student. College of Science and Technology.
April Glaser. Alumnus. College of Liberal Arts.
Neill Carroll. Alumnus. School of Media and Communication.
Ajay Bhatt. Student. Fox School of Business.
Anlin Wang. Student. Fox School of Business.


References


[1] http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/03/04/220161/cia-monitoring-of-senate-computers.html.