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The Scarlet & Black

VPSA and Steve Briscoe host “Know Your Rights and Responsibilities” workshop

Opeyemi Awe ’15, Vice President for Student Affairs and Steve Briscoe, Director of Security co-hosted a  “Know Your Rights and Responsibilities” session this Thursday in Main first lounge. Students were able to ask questions to a panel of experts, including Travis Greene, Dean of Students; Briscoe; Becky Pettig, County Attorney and Elected Prosecutor for Poweshiek County; Dennis Reilly, Chief of the Grinnell Police Department and Dennis McKelvie, defense attorney.

Students asked questions about private versus public space on campus, the discretion of officers in issuing warnings and citations, the best way to stand up for one’s rights and various questions about the law and off-campus life. The entire panel emphasized that the best way to avoid confrontations with the police is to avoid calling attention to oneself and act cordially when interacting with police officers. The panel also laid out advice for protecting one’s rights without being confrontational or rude.

Chief Reilly made sure to emphasize that his officer’s priorities were to maintain public safety and to protect the rights of citizens.

“If I have an officer that is out there violating rights, they will be out of a job,” Reilly said.

Another important part of the discussion centered around what constitutes a public space. Essentially, if the public can easily and permissibly enter and use a space, it is defined as public space, even if it is privately owned.

The panel used examples such as Lonnski’s, Mac Field, the JRC and the Bear as privately owned public spaces.

The workshop took place in Main Hall.
The workshop took place in Main Hall.
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