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Archive for Thursday, July 16, 2009

KU enforcement

Kansas University is justified in seeking a more practical way to enforce drug and alcohol policies in state-owned residence halls.

July 16, 2009

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Kansas University is in a tough spot when it comes to dealing with illegal drug and alcohol use by students in university residence halls.

As illustrated by two fatal incidents in recent months, the university often is blamed for not doing enough to restrict students’ use of intoxicating substances. Yet, when the school considers a policy that would help them step up enforcement of university rules concerning drugs and alcohol in residence halls, it attracts criticism for infringing on students’ right to privacy.

It’s a difficult line to draw, but a new policy that would give residence hall officials the right to enter a student room if they have good reason to suspect university drug and alcohol rules are being broken doesn’t seem out of line. Currently, residence hall officials cannot enter a room uninvited without obtaining a search warrant, which can take more than 24 hours, plenty of time to get rid of any evidence of a violation. The proposed policy would give students two chances to open their doors voluntarily at the request of a resident assistant and then a senior house staff member. If they refuse, the senior staff member could use a pass key to enter the room.

Some hall residents would argue they should have the same privacy rights as if they lived in an apartment, but by signing contracts in which they agree to abide by residence hall rules, students have given up some of those rights.

Over the years, the university has removed most of its parent-like restrictions on residence hall living either explicitly or through lax enforcement. But when student deaths are linked to behavior that is banned in KU residence halls, the university leaves itself open not only to criticism but potential legal action.

It’s true that university officials can’t follow students everywhere. It’s possible that more vigorous enforcement of drug and alcohol policies will drive more students to other locations to partake of illegal substances. Some students, however, might actually appreciate having the rules they agreed to abide by enforced.

This is not a cure-all. If this policy is approved, residence hall officials probably will put it to use only in the most blatant violations of hall policies. However, if the university is going to be blamed for not detecting and punishing drug and alcohol abuse, officials need to have a reasonable opportunity to catch students in the act and take the appropriate steps, including notifying their parents. The proposed policy would simply give them a way to do that.

Comments

Alexander Neighbors 4 years, 9 months ago

Does having sex in a dorm room constitute probable cause to open the door and barge in ??

Sex drugs and rockin roll

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trishlovesdolphins 4 years, 9 months ago

What is a good reason, and what kind of recourse does a student have if they're forced to open a door for no reason?

RA are NOT law enforcement. If there is suspected illegal activity, the police should be called. Period.

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Bruce Bertsch 4 years, 9 months ago

A lot folks seem to suddenly be Constitutional Law experts. I am not, but I would bet that similar rules have been adjudicated somewhere so that there is a precedent.

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Alexander Neighbors 4 years, 9 months ago

a few very stupid students get Ku administrators to remove 4th amendment rights from students...........

They will just use drugs off campus then come home last time I checked when your high or drunk it lasts a few hours.....

This will not solve anything

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Ernest Barteldes 4 years, 9 months ago

I really think that if this policy goes through, there will be a lot of abuse from officials. I say keep things as they are, for the sake of students' privacy. Respect the Fourth Ammendment, people - even if it bothers you... Apparently Bush-era illegal wiretapping and survellance policies have inspired some people. But that is despicable anyway.

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Shane Garrett 4 years, 9 months ago

An Illinois teenager got drunk at a Dave Matthews concert near Milwaukee and decided he was too intoxicated to drive. So he tried to sleep it off in his car. The local constabulary, though, was clearing out the parking lot and told him to drive off.

He did, and thus, was arrested for DUI as soon as he left the premises. He argued entrapment. A lower court ruled against the teen, saying he'd chosen to get drunk. An appeals court, though, has taken his side.

"Drinking alcohol to excess, while inadvisable and unhealthy, is not unlawful by itself," the appeals court said.

Posted by James Hart on Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 06:45

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BlackVelvet 4 years, 9 months ago

uh, since when do "residence hall officials" obtain a search warrant? I thought that was the job of the Police! Maybe they do it differently at KU

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nut_case 4 years, 9 months ago

Interesting topic. On one hand I can see where the university should have some power to police 'illegal' activities in the dorm rooms. But on the other, if kids are going to drink / smoke, or what ever, I'd much rather they do it safely in the dorm than driving back and forth across town.

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gsxr600 4 years, 9 months ago

What exactly defines "good reason"?

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mae 4 years, 9 months ago

It'll be okay as long as students have the right to sue perverted housing people that bust in on young people having fun. I'm a very jealous person and nobody sees my wife but me.

You know that this is going to happen. Lawyers get ready!!!

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