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March 8, 1999 - March 21, 1999
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Bi-Gala Up-In-Arms Against Military

 

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By Evan Ross
Guardsman Staff Writer
Published Mar. 8, 1999

 

SAN FRANCISCO
The Bi-Gala club protested Thursday, February 25, in Ram Plaza against the United States Marine Corps recruiting booth by setting up a booth just a few feet away and handing out information regarding student privacy rights along with their right to withhold information.

The club’s contention is that each branch of the armed forces discriminates by sexual preference (gays and lesbians are not allowed to enlist) and this disqualifies them from recruiting on campus. "Any other group or employer that discriminates is not allowed on the City College campus," Bi-Gala Treasurer Carol Cantwell commented. "It goes against all city ordinances, and this is a city college."

The soldiers are back on campus after three years. "We were the first school in the country to kick the military off the campus," Cantwell happily noted,"but the 1996 Solomon Act passed by Congress said that any campus which denies access to the military will not get any federal funding."

In a move that the Bi-Gala club and a bipartisan group of students believe will thwart the military’s recruitment campaign, efforts are being made to inform students about their privacy rights. City College presently has a database containing all student records. This information contains student names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, attendance records, and more. The college can release this information to any requesting agency and the Solomon Act grants the military permission to access those records.

Students who wish to remove their names from this list in order to have the information blocked must fill out a form within the first two weeks of the school year. The forms are found behind the counter in the office of Admissions and Records headed by Dean Richard Balestreri, and are cryptically named "Direct-ory Information" cards.

For Cantwell, though, having students’ names blocked is not enough. "We believe the responsibility to protect students’ civil rights rests with the board of trustees," she commented, "But the burden of consent is on the students." In other words, the students should not have to fill out the form in the first place. Cantwell hopes that at least the forms will be made more accessible. "The registration office is a good place for them," she recommends.

Balestreri has informed the Guardsman that indeed the forms will be made more accessible. "Right now they’re behind the desk but we can put them outside or in the registration office," he said. "But with regards to a mass dispersion of information," he noted to calm any worries, "there has been no company asking [for it]. The only ones that can get information directly are the military or someone with a court ordered subpoena."

Additional information on this subject can be found by calling the Office of Admissions and Records at 239-3291, reading page 2 in the current schedule of classes, or by reading the article found in the News Section in Issue 3 of the Guardsman, dated February 22, 1999.

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This page last updated 03/10/99.

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Copyright 1996-1998 City College of San Francisco. All rights reserved.  Articles by Guardsman staff writers are copyright by The Guardsman, a student-run publication of the Journalism Department of City College of San Francisco.  Material supplied by the College Press Service is used under license from that organization.  Material reprinted from City Currents is used with the permission of the Public Information Office, City College of San Francisco.