Millions of people from all corners of the United States and around the world travel to and from Las Vegas, NV each year. Of those millions, some of them choose to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). In the eyes of someone unfamiliar with the city of Las Vegas, it presents itself as an opportunity to better oneself and accomplish tasks that may have not previously been imaginable.
There should be no question that universities are an academic haven where research and learning help students make sense of our connected world, and become productive members of society. Students should not have to fear that what they’re studying or investigating might someday be used against them. With the rise of Edward Snowden’s leaks in recent years, students no longer have that peace of mind. We should not have to live in fear. In a nation where the government monitors the lives of its citizens through mass surveillance, free speech and academic freedom have almost come to a stalemate. As students and faculty of UNLV, we protest government spying on our university community. By partaking in such a movement, we are taking a stand against mass surveillance on our campus.
As it stands, the NSA’s grounds for surveillance are loosely based on association. Currently, everyone who is “three hops” away from anyone deemed suspicious by the NSA falls victim to government surveillance. For example, if you’ve called a restaurant, and a known drug dealer has called that same restaurant, the NSA is currently keeping records of your actions, and the actions of everyone else you’ve spoken to. It’s even broader than that, however. In a recent leaked Verizon order, it has been stated that “...every call in, to, or from the United States” is collected by the NSA. In layman’s terms, that means every single call, regardless of due process or whether or not someone has been suspected of wrongdoing.
Certain demographics of students, such as the LGBTQ community that remain closeted, could be made public. This also includes students in seek of mental health. Students, whether undergraduate or graduate, conducting research on controversial topics could also be put at stake.
The United States was founded to rid its citizens of government tyranny. This amount of government surveillance was never meant to happen. Sign your name in support, and help put an end to this ugly mess before it is too late.