A transpartisan coalition of student organizations have called on Arizona State University President Michael Crow to end the school’s relationship with the NSA.
ASU serves as an NSA ‘Center for Academic Excellence.‘ The school offers academic tracks approved by the spy agency, essentially NSA recruiting programs. The school also conducts research funded by the agency.
In an open letter to Crow, students condemned ASU’s relationship with the NSA and called for it to end as quickly as legally possible.
While ASU’s relationship with the NSA provides a certain level of prestige and brings in valuable funding, we do not believe we should trade our civil liberties for institutional advantages.
So far, five organizations have signed onto the letter, including the ASU Young Republicans and the Green Party of the ASU.
“That shows the transpartisan nature of this movement,” said OffNow lead Shane Trejo. “Protecting and defending the Constitution and basic civil liberties isn’t a left-right issue. It’s an American issue.”
Young Americans for Liberty Arizona chapter president Jacob Pritchett spearheaded the effort after learning about his school ‘s relationship with the NSA.
“We feel that just by virtue of being human we have a certain set of inalienable rights,” he said in an interview with the State Press.
The Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act would force an end to ASU’s relationship with the NSA. Sources say school administrators have opposed the bill, unhappy with the potential loss of research funding. Pritchett says the university shouldn’t prostitute itself for a few dollars.
“It’s a win-win for ASU and the NSA,” he told the State Press. “But the people who are losing are the university students. This is a public university and we provide a service for American citizens, and I don’t think it’s appropriate that ASU is actually lobbying against this bill for fear of losing their research partnership, potentially at the expense of their students’ constitutional rights.”
Pritchett also set up a petition on Change.org calling on Crow to end the ASU-NSA relationship. So far, the petition has garnered more than 350 signatures.
Trejo said student groups have created a model other students at other schools can follow.
“More than 160 universities have relationships with the NSA. I’m certain students at other universities are just as unhappy about their school supporting the violation of their rights as students at ASU. They should follow ASU’s lead, come together and demand their schools end these relationships. ASU has created the template to follow.”