Did you know the NSA enters into partnerships with colleges and universities?

Schools that partner with the NSA earn the Orwellian sounding designation of “Centers for Academic Excellence.” Depending on the nature of the partnership, these universities serve as either training and recruiting ground for future spies. Or they take on NSA funded research projects to further the agency’s mission – spying on the world. Or both.

The NSA website describes the purpose of these Centers for Academic Excellence.

The goal of these programs is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in IA and producing a growing number of professionals with IA expertise in various disciplines.

More than 160 colleges and universities across the U.S. currently partner with the NSA.

Now, you can add five more schools to the list.

On July 14, the NSA announced that five colleges earned the designation of Cyber Operations Centers of Academic Excellence.

This elite program, which now has a total of thirteen schools, complements the more than 100 existing centers of academic excellence (CAEs) in information assurance research and information assurance education – jointly overseen by NSA and the Department of Homeland Security.

The five schools include New York University, Towson University (Maryland), The United States Military Academy, The University of Cincinnati and The University of New Orleans.

Essentially, these NSA programs teach your children, your brothers, your sisters and your classmates to violate your rights.

These partnerships don’t have to happen. And they shouldn’t. As long as the NSA insists on operating outside of constitutional parameters and continues illegally spying on everybody in America, it should not receive one ounce of support or cooperation.

If your state passes the Fourth Amendment Protection Act, it won’t.

When a state makes the commitment to deny all material support to the NSA, that includes prohibiting state run schools from entering into these partnerships. Public universities already working with the NSA would have to end those programs, and schools not partnered with the spy agency could not crawl into bed with it. This provides an avenue for states to take a practical step that will hinder the NSA spy-state.

College and university students across the country should check the list and see if their school partners with the NSA. If so, ask yourself a question: do you want your university helping facilitate global surveillance that violates basic privacy rights the world over? If not, take action on your campus. Organize groups at your school to stand against NSA spaying.

Last year, Young Americans for Liberty chapter president Jacob Pritchett spearheaded an effort at Arizona State University. A transpartisan coalition of student organizations ranging form the Young Republicans to Greenpeace signed onto a letter demanding an end to the school’s cooperation with the NSA. Student initiatives raise awareness and put pressure on school administrators, who would generally prefer to keep things low key and quiet, and collect those government dollars. Student action also sends a message to state legislators, letting them know they don’t want their school feeding the spy-state. Student opposition also undermines any administrative lobbying in states considering passage of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. In Arizona, ASU administrators pushed hard to save the partnership and the money that comes with it.

Americans often become discouraged when confronted with a vast and powerful spy agency vacuuming up data with apparent impunity. It is easy to feel powerless to stop it. The the OffNow campaign provides a practical and powerful avenue of resistance, allowing grassroots activists at the state level to take steps that will practically hinder illegal surveillance. When multiplied across the country, these seemingly small step can work together to stop illegal spying.

Click HERE for more information.

Mike Maharrey

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