Baby doll incident inspires new college club

By Justin Smith

News Editor

November 8’s baby doll hanging incident has now inspired the school’s newest club: Canisius’ own chapter of The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU).  Senator Dylan J. Huston, ‘20, a part-time contributor to The Griffin, has decided to take positive action in what he sees as “an uncertain time” by becoming the founder and President of the new club.

The NYCLU’s mission, according to their website, is “to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution, including freedom of speech and religion, and the right to privacy, equality and due process of law for all New Yorkers.”

The baby doll incident inspired outrage and action among many students, as November 9–the day after both the baby doll and the national Presidential election–saw protests both inside in Grupp Fireside Lounge and later that night outside in the Quad.  For Huston, however, these protests were not enough.

“It is my hope that the Canisius College NYCLU will successfully mobilize the student body of Canisius College for the advancement and reinforcement of civil rights,” said Huston.

While Huston affirmed that is was the baby doll hanging that “truly made [him] realize the necessity for a chapter of the ACLU at Canisius College,” he also expressed desire that the club could have more long term and more far reaching effects going forward.

“It would be great to see the students of Canisius College unite in ending capital punishment, opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, and protecting the rights of all students,” said Huston.

Logistically, Senator Huston said the club was easy to set up.  He was able to work with Vice President of Student Organizations (VPSO) Jerry Daigler, ‘17 in order to establish the club and encourages other students interested in starting clubs to do the same.  Before the Senate could vote to approve the club, Huston also had to find a faculty representative.  Dr. Fajardo-Heyward, Associate Professor of Political Science, was more than willing.

“She couldn’t be happier to support the establishment of such an organization,” said Huston.

The turnaround for the club’s establishment was quick.  On November 15, just one week after the baby doll incident, the Senate passed the club’s constitution without any verbal dissent.

The next step for the club is establishing a strong membership.  If even a quarter of the students willing to attend protests were willing to join the NYCLU chapter, then the club would have no problems cementing its place in the campus.  For now, Senator Huston encourages students to sign up via GriffLink.

When asked why students should join, Senator Huston responded with the official ACLU slogan: “Because freedom can’t protect itself.”

Although it is encouraging to see a chapter of the NYCLU on campus, Senator Huston said that both himself and Dr. Fajardo-Heyward were surprised that, until now, there hadn’t been one.

“Dr. Heyward expressed shock that there was not already a wing of the ACLU at Canisius College,” said Huston, who added that he shared her sentiment.

“My peers here at Canisius College understand how important liberty is to our way of life,” said Huston, “and I think every single student I have had the pleasure to meet here at Canisius is a freedom fighter in their own right […] We, as students, have a duty to stand up for freedom, and the American Civil Liberties Union will stand with us each step of the way.”

[Editor’s Note: For full-disclosure, The Griffin’s News Editor is registered as the Vice President of Canisius’ chapter of the NYCLU.]

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