SSDP screening of ‘Busted’ educates students on interactions with law enforcement

Students for Sensible Drug Policy hosted a screening of the film “Busted” Monday night in the EMU Multicultural Center in an effort to educate students about their legal rights during encounters with law enforcement.

“It was put together by a group called Flex Your Rights, which is a side arm of the (American Civil Liberties Union),” SSDP President Sam Chapman said. “It was put together to show to students to inform them about their rights.”@@[email protected]@

The film was narrated by Ira Glasser, former executive director of the ACLU. Glasser explained such techniques as responding to questions with questions and the importance of the phrase, “I don’t consent to any searches.” These techniques, Glasser said, are helpful to avoid getting caught up in what he called “gotcha games,” where law enforcement officers try to get suspects to confess or waive their rights. Following the film were a number of informational videos on SSDP’s mission and [email protected]@[email protected]@

“It just helps inform people about their rights for all different kinds of scenarios,” Chapman said. “As far as young people encountering police, most people get really nervous.”

University freshman Andrew Rogers, a philosophy major, said he was excited to see the film and thought its message was important to the campus [email protected]@[email protected]@

“A lot of people don’t know their rights when interacting with officers of the law,” Rogers said.

Chapman said educational events such as this one are important to students because of federal regulations that allow the government to revoke the financial aid of students who are convicted of drug offenses.

“A lot of students are just completely unaware,” Chapman said. “They think they can get away with smoking a joint on campus, when in reality all that needs to happen is a cop has to see you and bang, your education is out the window.”

Among the attendees was ASUO Vice President-elect Katie Taylor, who has been attending meetings of different groups on campus to familiarize herself with campus organizations. Taylor was glad to learn about the issues the film addressed so she can convey that information to [email protected]@[email protected]@

“If students came to me with questions, I’d like to be able to answer them,” Taylor said.

Beyond events like this one, SSDP seeks to advocate for changes in drug policy, drawing in students who question the feasibility of the federal government’s war on drugs.

“I was concerned about the effects the war on drugs is having in the country. It’s turned the prison system into a profitable industry. It oppresses people of color, it oppresses young people and it’s just not working. It’s not keeping us healthy; it’s not keeping us safe,” Rogers said.

SSDP is planning further events to raise awareness on these issues, including a candlelight vigil in front of the Lane County Courthouse on June 17 to mark the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of war on drugs.

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