ACLU branch plans to create campus dialogue

The newly formed club aims to serve as a community mediator.

The newly formed club aims to serve as a community mediator.

As of last week, Temple is now home to a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group founded in 1920 to protect and defend individual rights and personal freedoms, according to its website.

Brian Hart, a Robertson, Gabrielle Clark and Samantha Wiggins are four of the executive board members of TU-ACLU. WALBERT YOUNG TTN

“I was interested in starting an organization on campus that dealt with civil rights. ACLU was the first organization that came to mind. Luckily, the ACLU has college chapters,” said TU-ACLU President Samantha Wiggins, adding that she then received the OK from the Philadelphia affiliation of ACLU.

“The ACLU is an organization that represents a wide scope of views. It is an organization that believes in protecting the rights of every individual regardless of age, race, religion and opinion,” Wiggins, a junior political science and philosophy major, said. “It is the vision of this chapter to open the channels of communication on campus about issues that deal with our rights.”

Wiggins said the group is currently in its planning stages, but she would like to reach out to other student organizations that share its mission.

Maureen Fisher, the program coordinator in Student Activities, said Temple’s ACLU chapter became a registered student organization just last week.

“We are always happy to welcome all new groups to campus through the formal registration process,” Fisher said in an e-mail.

Fisher said the group informed Student Activities that its mission “is to raise awareness of civil liberties issues and to safeguard those civil liberties both on and off campus [and] to open the dialogues between different demographics.”

Fisher identified the primary goals of TU-ACLU as creating a comfortable environment for all students, staff and faculty to feel safe voicing their opinions, raise awareness for important national and local issues on Main Campus and bring acceptance and tolerance to Main Campus.

“I would just like to say it’s great to know that there’s an organization on campus that serves as a mediator between the many different opinions and beliefs of a very diverse campus,” said junior political science major Andrea Guevara, the vice president of TU-ACLU. “I am proud to be a part of an organization that will give everyone a voice, no matter how anyone feels about it because it’s everyone’s rights to voice their opinion and to have their side heard.”

“I am excited for this organization to do great things on campus for all the students and bring a new fresh edge to what it means to preserve the rights granted to us by the United States Constitution,” Guevara added.

TU-ACLU meetings will begin in December.

Valerie Rubinsky can be reached at

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