The Student Activities Center has a new policy of requiring student groups to provide a list of its members as part of its registration process. A group of student organizations calling themselves Student Organizations Aligning for Rights (SOAR), which includes groups such as the College Democrats and Republicans, the Out Crowd and Muslim and Jewish groups, has refused to comply with this directive citing privacy rights issues. SAC’s policy dangerously encroaches on civil liberties and makes even halfhearted members of student groups full-fledged representatives in the administration’s eyes.
While we understand the administration’s contention that the lists are needed to ensure groups are run by and composed of tuition-paying students, The Hatchet believes these lists can and will be used for purposes that are not being outlined at this time. The administration has not closed the door on using these lists in Student Judicial Service proceedings. If a high number of group members are present for a rule violation, such as a party where underage students are drinking, the group could be considered a sponsor of the act.
The administration has also said that these lists could be used in future “emergency situations” to ensure safety or notify parties affected. While this could be a positive development, the fact that this statement is so vague is a cause for concern. By not specifically outlining in what types of cases this list could be used, the University sets a dangerous precedent for the potential infringement on a student’s right to privacy.
Those choosing to be members of student organizations are privileged to the same rights to privacy and freedom of association as other members of society. The University must realize that this policy has the potential to do more harm than good.