Do You Really Know Your Rights?
March 10, 2017
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On Friday, a presentation from the United States Attorney’s Office about students’ rights and how law enforcement affects students was brought to campus. Students gathered at noon in the alumni lounge to hear speakers who represented several different aspects of law enforcement.
The presenters included Charles Grady from the FBI, Chief Tracy Mooney from the UNH Police Department, Ndidi Moses, Assistant Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and John Sereno, Assistant Investigator at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Students were given information about the certain aspects of law enforcement that affect them here at the University, in West Haven, and in the United States. Students were also presented with different scenarios that Campus Police may encounter on a daily basis, and asked what decision they would choose to make.
“The real life examples that were presented really stood out to me, and explained how we as college students can better understand what rights we have when it comes to interacting with law enforcement,” said current junior Olivia Wong.
The legal system on our campus includes our school’s regulations and rules, our campus police, and any on-campus action. The University of New Haven Campus Police serve as community officers and are not looking to get students in trouble, but rather they are looking to keep the campus safe and help enforce student conduct.
“I learned that when we sign the housing agreement and other university policies, we lose some of our rights. Although this seems concerning, it is necessary in order to keep our university protected from any harm that may come in the future. Our campus police are here for us and I’m glad they are around to serve us,” said current junior Nicholas Mroczka.
A day in the life of an officer is a day to make change and help people, by building a community and sustaining it. When a police officer pulls you over, they almost always have a reason, and if they do not, that is when that individual can report an officer. However, in most cases, when pulled over, it is best to avoid escalation of the situation by being respectful of the process. This was expressed throughout the event by the various law enforcement officials.
They also made clear that you should not let yourself and your emotions get in the way if you want to walk away from a situation with a warning, and not a ticket. If you know your rights, and comply and cooperate with police, then you are in the best position you can be.
The American Criminal Justice Association (ACJA) wanted to bring this presentation to campus because they wanted students to be more aware of the rights they have on and off campus. They expressed that not many students may know that different jurisdictions often intersect, and that makes it difficult to be clear of what rights are carried when and where.
“I really hope that the students who attended the event gained knowledge about what their rights are here at the University, as well as the surrounding areas! I know I found it to be both enjoyable and informative,” said current freshman and ACJA member, Alyssa Stolecki.
The University of New Haven campus police chief stated at the end of the presentation that she is available for any questions and concerns, and is open to any students that ever want to meet with her to discuss anything.