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Panel seeks to share student rights


Students can find a list of five of their basic rights on the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities website, but it’s the finer details of such protections that tend to go unnoticed.

Tonight’s Know Your Rights event will aim to help students understand their legal rights, both on and off campus. The goal is to increase student awareness of their rights and open a dialogue between students, University Police (UP) and local legal experts.

The event, planned by Student Government (SG) Solicitor General Frank Cirillo, will work in a Q&A format, where students can submit questions to 

Mediator Susan MacManus, a political science professor, will pose them to the speakers, who will respond with advice relevant to their field. Students will not be able to ask questions at the event, so all student inquiries must be submitted to the website prior to the event. 

Speakers will include former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, local attorney Danny Alvarez of Alvarez Legal Group, a UP representative and a USF Ombudsman.

“(The event’s goal is) to increase students’ knowledge of their rights, on and off campus, and to foster an atmosphere of discussion,” Cirillo said.

He said he was charged with creating an event that would raise awareness in relation to his position with SG. As solicitor general, he works with students to handle legal events ranging from parking tickets to cases presented to the SG Supreme Court. He said he represents students in all such cases.

Cirillo hopes the event will help students become more comfortable with asking for legal help should a situation arise. 

“I did research and found that other schools have done Know Your Rights events. I thought that, in relation to recent events, it would be important,” Cirillo said.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on in the news now, such as (police) body cameras, and there’s never really been an event like this on campus before. Students could really benefit from knowing about their rights.“

The event will be held in the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater at 7 p.m. Prior to the event, there will be a reception starting at 6 p.m.