On Friday, October 26, the 16th anniversary of the Patriot Act, the Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa engaged with students to discuss the importance of our privacy rights. Armed with our earpieces, YAL sunglasses, and “government surveillance officer” badges at the UH Mānoa Campus Center, we handed out flyers that outlined some of the government’s constitutionally-suspect spying tactics and gauged student opinion on the topic through an agree/disagree-style interactive poster. Many students were surprised by the extent to which the government surveillance existed in America and how very trivial things can make anyone a suspect.
Although some students did not fully agree with our position regarding the topic, we really appreciated everyone’s willingness to discuss the topic freely. We were also very pleased that, in addition to discussing the importance of the 4th Amendment, we were able to sign people up for our email newsletter and invite them to our next general meeting. Although UH Mānoa sometimes seems like a rather politically apathetic campus, it was encouraging to see students take interest in this topic.
YAL’s #RestoreThe4th campaign really helped our chapter engage with students and have a discussion about warrantless government spying conducted under the guise of “national security.” With the technological advances made over the past couple decades, it is more important now than ever to defend the 4th Amendment and question government overreach. Our chapter would definitely love to continue this discussion with our students which may include hosting a similar event in the future.