The last batch of new Coastal Carolina University students rolls through campus early next week for Freshmen orientation, and invariably asking every new person they meet, “What’s your major?” Orientation is an important time in the life of a student. Here they learn the ins-and-outs of student life on campus, and get a first chance to explore all the opportunities available for them both inside and outside the classroom.
However, there is likely one piece of advice students will not receive from student leaders, faculty, or the administration: Know your rights. The University does its best to pretend to be a student’s best friend during orientation, but this facade quickly drops as soon as students step foot on campus for the first time and enter into a world where students are completely on their own to know and exercise their legal rights on campus. With CCU’s increased enforcement of alcohol violations -- increasing 42 percent from 2011 to 2012 -- the likelihood you’ll be ensnared in some type of scenario in which your legal rights will be questioned is ever increasing. To make matters worse, CCU’s police department was cited in a 2008 audit for being “on the verge of implosion due to the lack of true leadership and management,” which created an environment where, at times, the police acted illegally. The best resource for easily learning your legal rights in interactions with police is FlexYourRights.org.
In addition to providing information on the site about your legal rights, there are also two highly-recommended DVDs perfect for dorm-viewing parties. The DVDs run through different real life scenarios, such as traffic stops and house parties, where individuals typically interact with police. Recalling the lessons in such examples are crucial for when you are at a house party that gets busted, or late at night around campus when police use any excuse to pull vehicles over in hopes of finding a drunk driver. Simply knowing your legal rights can help you keep calm in these situations, and deter police from taking advantage of the balance of power.
Legal rights are not just valuable when interacting with police. Students also have important legal rights when on campus; rights that universities often ignore when pursuing their own interests on campus, hoping students are either too ignorant or intimidated to fight back. And, with CCU’s reputation for hostility against free speech and academic inquiry on campus (the administration banned the distribution of this paper on campus because of “alcohol-related content” in fear that it would corrupt the precious minds of students), students cannot count on administration officials to always play by the rules. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (F.I.R.E.) produces five guides to campus freedom, available for download at TheFire.org/fire-guides/. If you plan to be involved in any student activity -- especially ideological, journalism, or Greek organizations -- these guides are a must for protecting your rights on campus. Fortunately, most students will never be in a situation where their rights are tested; however, it is impossible to predict when, or how, you may come into contact with over-aggressive police or a hostile administration. Knowing your rights in these situations can be the difference in being made into a criminal, or walking free.
Boehner Goes Soft on Impeachment
Calls from within the GOP to impeach President Barack Obama are increasing as the Administration continues to stonewall investigations into gross misconduct from multiple agencies, in addition to flouting the rule of law as Obama uses Executive Actions to bypass Congress. There is little question as to Obama’s law breaking, which is why Speaker of the House John Boehner plans to file suit against the Obama administration for its actions.
However, Boehner recently rejected these calls for impeachment, saying to do so would embolden Democrats in the next election. This is a bad decision from a weak-kneed Republican leader largely responsible for letting the Administration run roughshod over the rule of law. The impeachment of a President is a serious decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. It is not a political weapon, but one provided by the Constitution as a “last resort” for stopping corruption. Yet, Boehner’s outright refusal to consider impeachment shows he cares more about the outcome of the next election than putting a stop to Obama’s lawlessness. If Obama is openly violating the law, as Boehner’s lawsuit is clearly intended to prove, then impeachment must be an option for addressing those violations. After all, what does Boehner plan to do if the lawsuit against Obama finds the President at fault, but Obama ignores it? Whine about it some more? The reason Obama feels so confident in defying Congress is that Republicans have, until recently, refused to do anything about it aside from making a stink in the press. By saying impeachment is off the table, purely for political strategy’s sake, there is little reason for the President to listen to the Republicans’ demands for executive restraint.
ANDREW DAVIS is a Myrtle Beach native and former Director of Communications for the national Libertarian Party. Contact him at SCPundit@gmail.com, or follow on Twitter at @SCPundit.