SGA to create student rights declaration

By on October 21, 2009

Junior Class Representative Nick Rossetti is currently assembling an ad hoc committee for the purpose of working with the Quinnipiac administration and certain national organizations to draft a Declaration of Student Rights for the University. The committee will consist of Rossetti and nine other students of his choosing. Five of these members, including Rossetti, have been selected from the Student Government Association and these names have yet to be revealed. The other five members will be selected from the general student body.

“In coming to a private university, you willingly strip yourself of certain constitutional rights which I would argue are absolutely fundamental to our well-beings as Americans,” Rossetti said. “Basically, we’re going to be looking into differences between public and private universities, and we’re going to be seeing if we can just safeguard the freedoms that we should be enjoying, but for whatever reason legally we do not.”

The drafting process, described as “informal” between the committee and the administration, will take two months. At the end of the two-month period, the Declaration will then be presented to SGA in order to get support for the document. The 10 members are the only students with voting rights regarding the document.

“It is important that only a small number of people have the vote, but I really want to encompass a lot more people in this committee, getting their opinion, working with them and certainly hearing what the voices on this campus have to say,” Rossetti said. “So on paper, yes, it does seem like a small thing, but we’re really looking for as much help as possible, and we’re trying to utilize our media outlets…to do so.”

The drafted declaration would strive to address issues akin to the United States Constitution, such as freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, search and seizures, and limitations of campus security.

“There are so many little agreements that can be made with administration and things that we can bring to their attention in this document that it’s really limitless,” Rossetti said.

Rossetti has also been in contact with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) about sending a representative to speak at Quinnipiac in the near future. FIRE’s role in drafting the declaration would consist of helping the committee establish its goals and bring feasibility to concerns raised. The plans are to incorporate the administrative level in discussions before the document has been created in order to allow the administration to work with the committee and recognize their efforts.

“This is just sitting in a room and…letting administration show that they’re capable of really being committed to us, or as committed as they say they are,” Rossetti said. “We want to give them that chance.”

If any QU student is interested in applying to join the committee, they can e-mail Rossetti at Nicholas.Rossetti@quinnipiac.edu. A brief summary in which the applying student describes why he or she wants to take part in the committee should be included. Interested students are recommended to list previous leadership experiences/qualities, and also list relevant concerns and issues that the committee could work on.

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