Knowing your rights can save you

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Bianca Sapet, civic engagement program coordinator, tells fine arts freshman Ramiro Maltos about what his rights are when approached by law enforcement at the “Know Your Rights” event hosted by civic engagement Sept. 18 in Loftin. Sasha D. Robinson

The office of civic engagement wants students to know their rights.

Sasha D. Robinson

The center for civic engagement hosted “Know your Rights,” to inform students about their rights when interacting with law enforcement.

Topics included being pulled over by the police, being approached by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, being detained for photographing or videotaping and rights for LGBTQ students.

Civic engagement Coordinator Bianca Sapet said the office of civic engagement distributes information from the American Civil Liberties Union, such as a bookmark with the Bill of Rights, and booklets about U.S. citizens’ rights.

“Some people do not know how to act when they get stopped by the police,” Sapet said.

Civic engagement passed cards out to students about their rights, such as keep your hands visible at all times when stopped by the police.

“You do not want to get killed by the police. You want to stay alive or do not want to be harassed or hurt. You also do not want to just let the police officer do whatever they want because they would need probable cause and search your car because you are a certain ethnicity.”

“There has to be respect on both sides,” Joseph Liedecke, coordinator of student success said.

The event was Sept.18 in Loftin Student Center, but only seven students attended the event.

“I wish more people would be interested in this type of event,” Jacob-Aiden Martinez, director of student conduct and Title IX, said in an interview that at the time of the event, he did not speak to students about their rights.

 “When it comes to a lot of things that are informative outside of the classroom, a lot of students think that it does not pertain to them. It is not until it happens to them, or they have a friend whose rights have been violated, then that is when it becomes an issue.”

Because many students did not attend the event, Martinez, who was to speak at the event about rights for transgender and nonconforming students, said he answered general questions.

He said students should know their rights on campus and be free from harassment.

Martinez also said pregnant students can submit a doctor’s note if they miss class, if they go into labor or for appointments that conflict with classes.

According to a flyer from SAC Cares, Martinez planned to inform undocumented students about protection from harassment from Homeland Security and “ICE” agents, schools, hospitals and public demonstrations.

According to the flyer, “The U.S. Department of Education has declared that Title IX’s discrimination prohibition extends to claims based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypes of masculinity or femininity.”

“I would tell students that if it does not pertain to you, let your friends know if they ever hear something … If you do not know if it is a civil rights violation, just come to our office and we can figure it out for them,” Martinez said.

For more information on Title IX, visit the student conduct and Title IX office in Room 101 of the nursing complex.

The office hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call 210-486-0926 or send an email to

For more information about “Know your Rights,” visit the office of civic engagement in Room D403 of Portable 19 west of the Church of Christ Student Center 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Friday or call 210-486-0137.


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